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FOUNDED A.D. 1604. 













H. S. 









Previous histories of Tiverton comprise : (1). A small duodecimo 
volume of about 66 pages, by Mr. John Blundell, published in. 1712. 
(2). Some irregular memoirs written in a large folio book by William 
Hewett, merchant, who was churchwarden in 1720. This book in 1790 
was in the possession of the Rev. John Newte, and was consulted by 
Martin Dunsford. What has become of it, I cannot say. (3). Martin 
Dunsford, third of the name, published in 1790 Historical Memoirs of 
the Town and Parish a work reflecting great credit on the author. 
(4). In 1845 Lieut.-Colonel Harding published a General History of 
Tiverton and a full account of the Lords of the Manor ; and in 1847, a 
second volume, crammed with valuable information relating to the 
Borough charities and local institutions,' with biographical notices, 
abstracts of the charters, &c. 

The " Chronicles of Twyf ord," however, are not a mere supplement 
bringing down the narrative of events to the current year. The 
accounts both of Martin Dunsford and Harding have been amplified in 
many important details : and the whole has been re-written. The 
original bye- laws of the town, and the other documents copied in the 
appendices, have never before been printed; and a number of other 
sources have been drawn upon to impart variety to the contents, as well 
as to supply accurate information on points in which the inhabitants of 
Tiverton may be supposed to be interested. 

The title " Chronicles of Twyford " is not without precedent. Sixty 
years ago, when it was the fashion in country towns to write " squibs," 
a number of leaflets appeared in Tiverton, entitled "The First Chapter 
of the Chronicles of Twyford," "The Real Chronicles of Twyford," etc. 
This circumstance, and the fact that the word " Chronicles " has come 
through association to express something less formal than history, 
suggested the name of the present volume. 

In gratefully acknowledging the assistance which has been given to 
me on all hands, I feel that special thanks are due to Mr. John Sharland, 
of Exmouth, a large part of the second chapter relating to the Georgian 
era being practically his work. The extensive knowledge which Mr. 
Sharland possesses of Old Tiverton was derived, in great part, from 
listening when a boy to the tales of his grandfather. With respect to 

Tiverton races and other sporting topics, my chief informant has been 
Mr. William Hooper, who acted as " starter " at the races for many 
years. I have also to thank Mrs. G. W. Cockram for permission to 
inspect valuable papers left by her late husband ; and Mr. R. F. 
Loosemore for giving me access to his collection of political leaflets, &c. 
Mr. G. B. Cockram, whose efforts for the prosperity of the town have 
made him exceptionally well acquainted with modern developments, has 
not only revised and amplified important sections, but was also good 
enough to place in my hands a mass of valuable materials (collected by 
his late partner, Mr. W. Partridge), out of which the narrative has, in 
many places, been constructed. Nor must I forget the information I 
have gleaned from the writings of the late Air H. S. Gill, a recognized 
authority on numismatics aal ecslesiology. The sketch of the 
restoration of. St. Peter's Church has been condensed from a 
contemporary account published by the Rev. J. B. Hughes, M.A. 
Acknowledgments are due to Mr. R. D. Blackmore for permission to 
reprint some interesting passages of " Lorna Doone " ; and to Dr. IS. 
Smiles for a similar favour. I have also to thank the following gentle- 
men for help rendered in various ways : the Rev. J. Dickinson, M.A. ; 
the Rev. D. M. Owen, B.D. ; Mr. H. J. Carpenter, M.A., LL.M. ; 
Mr. J. F. Ellerton; Mr. W. H. Snelt ; Mr. F. A. Payne; Mr. C. Marshall 
Hole; Mr. Thomas Clarke; Mr. Siddalls; Mr. W. Beck; Mr. W. Davey ; 
Mr. Upton, &c., &c. Lastly, I must cordially recognize the 
ungrudging assistance of Mr. Alfred Gregory, through whose enterprise, 
mainly, the " Chronicles of Twyford " now see the light. 

At some future date, I hope to deal, in another volume, with Tiverton 
elections and electioneering "squibs." 


Bampton, December 8th, 1892. 



I. BEFORE THE CONQUEST ... ... 1 - 14 

II. THE MIDDLE AGES ... ... ... 15 46 

III. THE GREAT FIRES ... ... ... 47 80 

IV. THE EARLY STUARTS ... ... 81 112 


VI. AFTER THE RESTORATION ... ... 145 180 

VII. . THE GEORGIAN ERA (PART I) ... 181-218 


IX. YESTERDAY ... ... ... ... 267 344 

X. TO-DAY 345 394 



);GREEABLY with precedent, though doubtless for 
many of my readers the information will be 
superfluous, I begin this history by indicating the 
exact position of Tiverton on the map and its 
comparative distance from places of greater note. 
Be it known, then, that in respect to longitude 
the town is 3'29 degrees W. of Greenwich, while 
as to its latitude it is 50'54 degrees N. of the 
equator. It is in England, in the County of 
Devon, and in the N.E. section thereof. In 
Dunsford's time it was 176 miles W. of London, but Harding, 
writing about fifty years later, computes the distance at about 160 
miles. As no geographical changes are on record to account for 
the discrepancy, we must assume that these writers used different 
methods of calculation, the former perhaps taking his measurement 
by the coach route, while the latter may have fitted a pair of 
compasses to a given scale, or, to use the good old phrase, may 
have reckoned "as the crow flies." Anyhow, by the Great 
Western Railway, the managers of which have particular reasons 
for being exact, the distance is 184 miles. I have to add that it 
is about 14 miles N. of Exeter, the county town, 24 miles S. of 
the Bristol Channel, and nearly the same distance N. of the 
British Channel. It is situated at the confluence of two rivers 
the Exe and the Lowman. 

This, however, I cannot but feel, is a stiff and pedantic way 
of entering on our subject. I venture, accordingly, on a new 
beginning. Geography, in school or out of it, is not a subject 
to be treated lightly, and before proceeding with the history, or, 
as I have chosen to call it, the chronicles of Tiverton, it is well 


that we should make up our minds where Tiverton is. In a 
general way this has been done. We are now certified as to the 
longitude and latitude, and concerning other facts also we are not 
perhaps in such heathen darkness as we might have been but for 
the formal and uninspiring prelude above given. But while few 
persons are possessed by a passion for geography, it is a sports- 
manlike instinct to wish to know something of the surrounding 
country ; and the votary of nature, however idealist, will scarcely 
disdain an acquaintance with the names of places, which have 
caught his eye and rivetted his admiration. The question arises 
how it will be best to impart this information. There is ancient 
but perhaps not very reputable authority* for taking people up 
into an exceeding high mountain, from whose summit they may, 
as Doctor Johnson observes, 

Survey the world from China to Peru. 

Unfortunately in this case there is no exceeding high mountain, 
but only, as Mr. Carpenter says, "arching hills." We must 
therefore, make the best of what we have got, and I invite the 
reader to ascend with me in imagination to the top of Shortridge, 
about a mile-and-a-half beyond Seven Crosses,f where, it may be, 
he will see more things than he had hoped. Premising that it is 
a clear day which in the spring and autumn can generally be 
obtained after showery weather we gain, as we gaze over the 


tWestcote, in his " View of Devonshire " p. 273, gives the following sage 
account of the origin of this name. Having stated that the Earl of 
Richmond was the possessor of the Manor of Chumleigh and the Earl of 
Devon of the borough, he thus proceeds : " Of one of their noble ladies 
(which should be the Countess of Devon, for never can I find an Earl of 
Richmond inhabiting here) is left unto us this tale, (commonly spoken 
and constantly believed). A poor labouring man, inhabiting this town, 
had many children ; and, thinking himself overburdened by such a multi- 
plied blessing of God in that kind, intended by a politic natural course to 
avoid all such future charge, absented himself seven years together from 
his wife, and then returning again and accompanying her as formerly. 
She was within a year thereafter delivered of seven male children at one 
birth, which makes the poor man think himself utterly undone ; and 
hereby despairing, put them all in a basket, with a full intent to have 
drowned them; but Divine Providence following him, occasioned a lady 
to be coming at this instant of time in his way, who demanded of him 
what he carried in his basket. The silly man, stricken dead well near 
with that question, answered they were whelps, which she desired to 
see ; and finding the lady was resolved, and by opposition became more 
earnest in her purpose, fell on his knees and discovered his intent, with 
all former circumstances ; which understood, the Countess went home 
with them, provides nurses, and all things also necessary. They all live, 
are bred in learning, and being come to man's each a prebend 
in this parish ; which I think are vanished, not to be seen; but the 
Seven Crosses near Tiverton, set up by this occasion, keeps it yet in 
memory, unless they are appropriated to the free school there erected." 


fertile Exe Valley, a distinct view of the sea off Exmouth, and by 
the aid of a pocket telescope vessels are seen wending their way 
in various directions. Plainly discernible also are the Warren 
and the still waters between it and Starcross ; and standing in 
bold relief the Exmouth tower, with its four pinnacles. Follow- 
ing the course of the sun from this point, our attention is first 
arrested by some very distant hills along the coast, but soon the 
remoter prospect is intercepted by the hill which rises over Bick- 
leigh Court Between this and Cadbury Castle, which is next in suc- 
cession, the heights of Haldon show themselves, with the Belvedere 
at their apex. Just beyond Cadbury Castle appears a part of the 
ridge called in the vernacular " Eaddon Tap," and well-known to 
the inhabitants of Poughill, who cross it perforce on their way to 
Exeter. Next is the Windmill Hill, in the parish of Cheriton 
Fitzpaine, and over this may be observed at an immense distance, 
the southern escarpment of Dartmoor, beyond South Brent, and 
at least forty miles away. Further to the right is a remarkable 
conical hill, which is, I am informed, Rippon Tor, near Ashburton; 
and apparently not far from this may be seen the double peak of 
Heytor. Hence to the northern extremity of the moor, near 
Okehampton, rise sharp and clear against the south-western sky 
three immense masses of primitive rocks, evidently upheaved by 
some mighty convulsion of nature. About five miles from Oke- 
hampton is one of the highest points of the moor. Cosdon or 
Cawsand Beacon. This tor is 1730 feet above the level of the 
sea, and from Shortridge is distinctly visible, overtopping its 
fellows. Further westward the view is not so distant, but still 
extensive. In this direction it appears to be bounded by Wither- 
idge Moor. To the N.W. is Templeton hill, church, and village ; 
next comes Gibbet Moor, and further northward and more remote 
are the highlands near Molland and East Anstey. Then follow 
the far distant regions of Exinoor, Dunkery Beacon, and Brendon 
Hill. On the top of Dunkery, by the aid of a glass, may still be 
seen the ruins of five hearths, from which in perilous times blazed 
the beacon fires of our ancestors. This extraordinary hill does 
not seem so high as it really is owing to its gigantic base, which 
is twelve miles in circumference. It is, however, 1700 feet above 
the level of the sea. But I must not linger. To the east, just 
above Chevithorne Barton, appear some portions of the Quantock 
Hills, which stretch across West Somerset from Durston to 
Watchet. Further on, over Hockworthy, we catch a glimpse of 
the same range, capped by a tower. The next conspicuous feature 
in the horizon is Blackdown with the Wellington monument. 
Beyond this the distant landscape is, for a short space, masked by 
a shoulder of Exeter Hill, near Gogwell Lane. Then, due east, 
appear the Scythe Stone Hills, full of " antediluvian remains " 
and fossil shells ; and, after these, the more distant range extend- 
ing from Honiton to the south coast. The break in this range 


which goes by the name of " Sidmouth Gap " cannot be seen from 
Shortridge, being concealed by an eminence called " Criss Crass " 
(Christ's Cross), over which lofty hill passes the old turnpike 
road from Tiverton to Exeter. To the right of " Criss Crass " are 
well-wooded heights, topped by an old hill-fort called " Woodbury 
Castle," and then the high ground round Budleigh Salterton 
brings us back to the point we started from. 

Dunsford dwells with just and loving appreciation on the 
woodlands, orchards, and pleasant pastures, tenanted by white 
sheep or red oxen, and the hill-sides, covered with wheat, barley, 
and oats, which environed his native town. Then, as now, the 
ancient tower of St. Peter's peeping out amid a group of tufted 
trees assured the wayfarer that here was a community of Christian 
men ; and what with the villages, seats, farms, and cottages, 
which dotted the landscape in every part, we must needs believe 
that Tiverton in 1790 was an earthly paradise, which only the pen 
of a Marmontel could describe. I will not disturb the illusion by 
seeking to enquire whether in very truth Tiverton was such a 
beatific place at the date in question, but will content myself 
with observing that this record commences at a period very much 
earlier than 1790. At what period exactly the narrative does 
begin, it is difficult to determine, but it appears to take its rise 
in a great, dark, prehistoric past, from which only a few broken 
hints have come down to us, but which, we may be sure, was 
sufficiently unlike the present. Among other changes the lovely 
scenery, which so captivated the heart of honest Martin Dunsford, 
has been superinduced over a ground which in any other age 
would be deemed harsh and repellent. Carrington's lines on 
Dartmoor (though the first limps a little) well describe such a 
landscape and its effects on the unregenerate human soul : 

Devonia's dreamy Alps ! now I feel 

The influence of that impressive calm 

That rests upon them. Nothing that has life 

Is visible : no solitary flock 

At wide will ranging through the silent moor 

Breaks the deep-felt monotony ; and all 

Is motionless, save where the giant shades, 

Flung by the passing cloud, glide slowly o'er 

The grey and gloomy woods, etc. 

The Exe winding through narrow dales, almost approaching 
to glens, between hanging woods, and its little sister the 
Lowman, are perhaps the only features which have remained 
substantially unchanged since the time when ' wild in woods the 
noble savage ran ' ; and we are tempted to claim as the earliest 
inhabitant of these parts the delicate trout, whose attractions 
indeed, may have been the loadstar which drew the genus homo 
hither, to try their luck, as many generations have since done, 
with rod and line, I have assumed that the aspect of Tiverton 


in the earliest times is fairly rendered for us by Exmoor and Dart- 
moor Forest as they exist now. This in any case could hardly be 
termed an extravagant supposition, but there is strong confir- 
matory evidence of its truth. At a distance of only five miles 
from the town is Gibbet Moor still in virgin freedom, and several 
local names Pinnex Moor, Moorhayes, Cranmore, Cowleymore 
and Elmore point to a time, relatively speaking, not so very 
distant, when a large part of the country immediately adjacent 
was an uncultivated heath. Even so late as the beginning of the 
eighteenth century Elmore was still in this condition, for as a 
preface to Blundell's Memoirs we find this very horrid " poetry " : 

Within this County's Botoels lies a Moor 

Of Old call'd Ell Down ; from whose mountains roar 

Combined Fountains ; which, without delay, 

Towards the Ocean do their Streams display ; 

And, as if overtired, make their Graves 

Betwixt the Northern and the Southern Waves. 

West, and beneath this dismal Forest lies 

A fruitful Vale, in form triangle-wise ; 

Wherein stands TIVEBTON, etc. * 

The thing, therefore, as it seems to me, may be treated like a 
sum in proportion. If Tiverton, and especially Ell-down, was like 
this in the eighteenth century after Christ, what must it have 
been like in the eighteenth century before our era ? The answer, 

* It is possible that some, after digesting the above extract, may find 
themselves in the condition of Oliver Twist, desirous of more. Though 
I doubt the expediency of gratifying such a perverted taste, and though 
the original quotation was introduced solely in the way of business, I 
have decided to be indiscreet, and here produce the remainder : 

whose glorious State 

Has been much darken'd by the Checks of Fate, 
But yet her Abbies and her Mon'ment Stories 
Are strong Assertors of her Ancient Glories 

Trading (the life of Places) here's to pull 
The finest Lock of all the Cornish Wool, 
Which into Yarn her People do convert, 
And other Tradesmen other-where impart 
To make those famous Serges which are hurFd 
By Ships from England, thro' the boundless World. 
Yet, not the meanest part of Wool here brought, 
Is by herself into fine Kersies wrought ; 
Whose wonted Goodness in the strength of ivear 
Needs not the Passport of the Allenger 

Her Suburbs, or Precincts, tiuo miles do stretch, 
Upon the East and Westward four do reach ; 
Three Miles upon the South she brancheth forth ; 
And claims six Miles directly on the North. 

And 'bounds in Fishing, and fair Villages, 
Woods, Water, pleasant Groves, and Tillages. 
Her grazing Pastures Carmel-&'/fc<? for feeding ; 
Her Mountain-tops like E&sh&n- Hills for breeding. 


of course, must be to a certain extent conjectural, but from the 
paucity, or, as I think we may say, the complete absence of any 
primitive remains, such as flint weapons, etc., dug up from the site 
of the present town, we are forced to the conclusion that in the 
youth of the world Tiverton was all Ell-down, all barren waste, 
and wood. 

Old, very old Tiverton, was on a hill, but our accounts of it are 
extremely vague, for the Dunmonians, who it is supposed, pre- 
ceded us in the occupation of the place, have left behind them 
few traces and absolutely no records. How then do we know that 
any such people existed or were domiciled in the locality ? In the 
first place, certain Greek geographers, Solinus, Ptolemy, and 
Heracleota have referred to them as inhabiting the western-most 
part of Britain, and in the Antonine Itinerary Isca ( Exeter) is 
named after them " Isca Dunmoniorum." Ptolemy mentions 
other towns, Voliba, TJxela, and Tamara, as belonging to the 
Dunmonians, but there is nothing in his writings to connect any 
of these names with Tiverton. In spite, however, of the want of 
any historical clue we have good reasons for believing that the 
Dunmonians had a settlement in the neighbourhood. Jutt as 
there are sermons in stones, so there are mute witnesses in 
mounds. When numerous and sporadic, they tell of some for- 
gotten battle ; arranged in a continuous line, they mark the limits 
of some ancient village or town. The unaccountable prejudice 
that the Romans were the only people who had sense enough to 

Nor is she barren ; For her shallowest Brook 
Affords rich matter for the Angler's Hook; 
Salmon, Trout. Peal, and luscious Fish 
With her's no Dainty, but a usual Dish. 
There store likewise of Fennish Fowl do swim 
In Winter-time, upon sweet Ex's brim : 
And other kind in Covies fly and hop 
From every Valley to each Mountain top. 
Her Fields and Woods yield likewise noble Game ; 
With Hawk and Hound her Hunters range the same, 
To start the Hare and rouse the fallow Deer, 
Pursue the Fox with Ho! See Ho ! See Here! 

Her well-filFd Channels, for the People's use, 
Thro' every Street their chrystal Streams diffuse : 
These palisaded, with revengeful power, 
The stony Pavement do most neatly scour 

Her Air without is wholesome. And wit /tin 
Her hidden Bowels lie rich Mines of fin ; 
And will, in little time, with Coals supply 
Her own Inhabitants and neighbours by. 

Advance then Tiverton, no longer lie 
Inrol'd in Sheets of dark Obscurity ; 
May Generations on thy Name insert 
Proper-shon'd Honour to thy gi eat Desert; 
And when that envy dares to wound thy Name 
Let her grow Leaner by thy rising Fame. 


handle a spade, at any rate for military purposes, has led some 
excellent people to see in every instance of circumvallation, not 
indubitably modern, evidence of a Eoman camp. (It happens, 
however, that the Roman camps were rectangular, whereas many 
of these enclosures are of a form which only a mathematician 
could describe). When compelled to give up the designation 
" Eoman camp," they substituted for it " British fort," which, 
though more accurate as regards nationality, is also probably a 
misnomer. By this we mean that the enceinte was not, as the 
word " fort " would seem to imply, a kind of barracks devoted 
exclusively to soldiers. It is much more likely to have been the 
abode of the inhabitants generally. The Kelts, we know, are a 
very excitable race, and if we may draw an analogy' from the con- 
dition of Ireland at the epoch of the English Conquest, and that 
of the Highlands of Scotland in still later times, there would have 
been no lack of feuds among the various tribes of Dunmonians, so 
that a rampart was almost a necessity. To what, it will be asked, 
do these observations tend ? Simply to the fact that we have on 
Skrinkhills, just above Collipriest, an example of such castra- 

Cranmore Castle, for by this name the encampment is known, 
is thirty-three acres in extent. Time and cultivation have done 
their work in wearing down the banks, which probably at one time 
reached a height of several feet, but the outlines are still distinctly 
traceable. In the centre dominating the camp is a circular 
mound, which was used most likely for a beacon. It was by no 
means an isolated town. Within easy reach of it is Cadbury 
Castle, and to the north of Tiverton, at Stoodleigh, Huntsham, and 
Bampton, are similar works. While, as has been said, the "fort " 
is not to be distinguished from the " town," it does not follow 
that all the inhabitants lived within this area. The needs of a 
growing population if indeed by the favour of Mars it did grow 
would naturally lead to some members of the community making 
homes for themselves outside, providing always that they were 
on amicable terms with the tribes their immediate neighbours. 
Thus, in the case before us, if I may hazard a guess, the space now 
occupied by the courts and alleys of Little Silver may have been 
used for a suburb, in which, during peaceful times, the redundant 
Cranmorians lived sans souci, but from which, on the first signal 
of alarm, they fled as a bird to the mountain. If this was so, all 
signs of their occupancy have long since disappeared, for the 
houses in that quarter, however venerable their look, are certainly 
later than the Dunmonian era. 

I must add a few words on the names. Local etymology is, in 
many instances, such a tricky and " parlous " theme, that he who, 
first of men, undertook to enlighten us on the derivation and 
meaning of that truly remarkable word " Skrinkhills " deserves 
great honour for his industry and courage. It would appear that 


the term " Skrink " is only the miserable remnant of a grand 
Cornu-British and Armoric word '' squirinak," signifying " long- 
legged." Harding observes that in British all names of hills 
" refer to the resemblance parts of the human frame " a dogma 
which the printer may have assisted him to formulate, but which, 
notwithstanding, may find acceptance with some people, especially 
readers of Ossian. I learn from the same authority that 
" Cranmore " is compounded of two Keltic words, which mean 
either " green" or " stone moor." In this connexion it would be 
unpardonable should I fail to speak of the river, anciently " Isca," 
then, convertibly " Ex " and " Aisse," now invariably " Exe." We 
cannot err in identifying the name with that of the Usk, and 
there seems to be no manner of doubt that the meaning of the 
word, which is British, was " water," Thus we have been able to 
eke out the testimony of the tumuli with the evidence of local 
names, which, surviving all changes, have served as a lasting 
memorial of those who bestowed them. 

The Britons, as we are all aware, were succeeded in the govern- 
ment of the island at least, the southern portion by the 
Romans ; and one anxiously enquires whether any or what dis- 
coveries have been made tending to throw light on the limits of 
their conquest and the particular localities in which they settled. 
It would be foreign to the purpose of this work, even if the writer 
possessed the necessary stock of learning, to enter at large on this 
question It may, however, be stated, that there are satisfactory 
proofs, both in the testimony of authors and in architectural 
remains, of the presence of that imperial race at Exeter ; and that 
at various intervals along the valley of the Exe, at Cadbury, Bick- 
leigh, Tiverton, and Bampton, have been found Eoman coins. 
Here we must confine ourselves to the discovery which is naturally 
of special interest to ourselves. In detailing the nature of the 
treasure-trove and the circumstances under which it occurred I 
feel that it is but just to Colonel Harding, who was an able man 
and generally wrote sound English, to quote what he says. He 
thus writes : " In April, 1845, while some workmen were sinking 
a drain on Little Gornhay, in an orchard immediately behind the 

farm-house they discovered a large jar, about two feet 

below the surface, containing several hundred Eoman coins. 
They were chiefly copper washed with silver, and a few of them 
entirely so, all evidently of the third century. Several of these 
coins fortunately fell under the observation of Captain Shortt 

author of ' Collectanea Curiosa ' and of ' Antiquities of 

Exeter'; and a few are in my own possession. These chiefly 
were of Antoninus Pius, Severus, Alexander Severus, and Julia 
Augusta. Several of the washed or plated pieces are Quinarii ; 
and most of the coins are of the debased currency or pecunia 
majorina, which abounded in the age of Severus and his successors. 
They were generally in very good preservation." 


So much for the " find." How these coins came to be hoarded 
at Little Gornhay is another matter, and one which offers a fine 
field for the exercise of the imagination. We picture to ourselves 
some hapless Briton, a Roman in all but blood, hiding in trembling 
haste his accumulated gains, before embarking on his flight from 
the merciless Saxon, and vainly hoping to recover his store, when 
the victors were sick of havoc. This perchance is dreaming, but 
the passage will not be wasted on the reader, if it diverts his mind 
from a fallacy which the mention of Eoman coins is well calculated 
to suggest. We are not to assume, because Roman coins have 
been met with in the neighbourhood, that therefore this part of 
Devon was completely within the sphere of Roman organization, 
still less that the slopes of Skrinkhills were studded with Roman 
villas in all the grandeur of tesselated pavements and artistic 
pottery. If villas of the sort had ever existed, the ruins would 
still remain. It is possible, no doubt, that such is the case, and 
that an accident similar to that which led to the discovery of the 
coins may reveal to us fragments of a genuine Roman structure. 
Till then, and on the present evidence, we must adhere to our 
verdict of " non-proven." Before dismissing the subject I must 
refer to some theories regarding certain roads, which, in the 
opinion of a respectable antiquary, Mr. James Davidson, may con- 
ceivably be Roman. One of these roads 1 have already mentioned 
as leading from Tiverton to Exeter. It passes, Mr. Davidson 
says, a " down " called Exeter Hill, where the road was named 
Long Causeway, and was well-paved for the distance of a mile. 
This causeway, he thinks, may have been a legacy from the Romans. 
I am compelled to differ from Mr. Davidson. His conclusion was 
formed probably from general considerations; and although lam not 
in a position to state when and by whom the causeway was made, 
there are reasons which lead me to think that it was at no very 
ancient date. In 1678 a merchant of Tiverton, named John Lane, 
left 20s. per annum for the repair of the " long causeway between 
Tiverton and Butterleigh, in pitching and paving of it, and not 
otherwise to be therein employed." Now, on the face of it, it 
does not seem likely that in the year of our Redemption sixteen 
hundred and seventy eight John Lane should have betrayed such 
tender solicitude about a road which, supposing it to be Roman, 
had been in existence for so many ages, and shown such an 
eminent capacity for taking care of itself. It appears much more 
probable that the causeway had been constructed within living 
memory for needs which had not then passed away, and that Lane, 
being generous and philanthropic, was anxious that the benefits 
which he had received from it should be transmitted to succeeding 
generations. The other case to which Mr. Davidson alludes has 
reference to a branch of a great Roman road from Taunton to 
Exeter, called the Portway, which is supposed to have struck off 
at Leonard Moor, near Uifculme, and led, through Halberton, to 


Tiverton. Both, these theories may be correct, but as it is 
impossible to attain to any certainty on the subject, it is better, 
perhaps, to leave them where they stand, without further 

All this time we have been referring to a state of things which 
existed before Tiverton, properly so called, came into being. 
Whatever arts or civilisation the neighbourhood may have boasted 
at an earlier period, there is reason to believe that, on the advent 
of the Saxons, everything was begun de novo ; and, if Dunsford's 
surmise is right, the new town arose, in the opposite direction, 
from a cluster of cottages round Tiverton Castle. The date of 
the first Saxon colonisation cannot be ascertained, but it can 
hardly have taken place before the first half of the seventh 
century. According to old writers, Marianus and Florentius, 
there befel A.D. 620, at Bahantune (Bampton), a great battle 
between the invaders under Kenegel, the first Christian king of 
the West-Saxons, and the Britons. Of the latter no less than 
20,000 men are stated to have fallen. The magnitude of the 
slaughter sufficiently attests the nature of the struggle. It was 
war to the knife, and, if a remnant of the Britons escaped, it was 
only that they might become hewers of wood and drawers of 
water to the victors. Their wives and daughters were no doubt 
appropriated by the Saxons. 

That Tiverton was founded by the Saxons is evident from the 
name, which is contracted from Twi-ford-town and obviously 
refers to the fords, which preceded the erection of bridges over 
the Exe and the Lowman. The name Lowman, unlike that of 
the sister stream, appears to be of Saxon origin, being derived 
from the loam, with which the bed of the river, over most of its 
course, is silted. The word is sometimes, though less generally 
spelt ' Loman,' which is, perhaps, slightly preferable, the other 
spelling being due to an irrational attempt to make sense out of a 
name, which has ceased to convey any meaning. By the Saxons, 
however, the stream was called ' Suning,' and it owed this 
description to its sluggishness, a quality which it still retains. 
Here it is well to confess that we know extremely little of Tiverton 
previous to the Norman Conquest, and even for a considerable 
time after. It is not a bad remark of Dunsford, that the great 
fact we may be certain of is, that " successive generations lived and 
died." In the absence of any positive data we must be satisfied 
with the two sources of information which are alone open to us, 
inference and tradition. In the Domesday-book the hundred. of 
" Tunvertone " or " Tavvetone " is quoted as forming part of the 
royal demesne : and it is stated to have been held by several 
persons in the reign of Edward the Confessor, as vassals of the 
king. It is possible, therefore, that Tiverton may have been 
one of the small towns or villages which were built or restored by 
King Alfred the Great after the war with the Danes. It is clear 


that, compared with other towns, Tiverton could not have been 
a place of any size under the Saxons, for while Exeter had 476 
burgesses, Barnstaple 83, Lidford 69, Totnes 110, and Okehamp- 
ton 4, only 41 were left to be distributed over the remainder of 
this large county. The hundred was divided, for purposes of 
police, into twelve departments, or tythings. Each tything 
consisted of ten families, who were severally responsible for each 
other's good conduct and the preservation of the peace ; and the 
whole was under the government of a portreeve. Traces of this 
arrangement continue to a very late period, but it was practically 
superseded by the grant of a charter in the reign of James I. 

In 1002, according to tradition, the people of Tiverton took 
part in the general slaughter of the Danes, commanded by 
Ethelred the Unready. This dire event was fixed for Sunday, 
November 13, the festival of St. Brice, " when the Danes that 
were in the town of Twyford upon the river Isca or Aisse were 
massacred by the women with much secresy in the night " 
( EEewett's Memoirs). Kingsley in " Hereward the Wake " thus 
criticizes the affair : 

" For a while they had been lords of all England. The Anglo- 
Saxon race was wearing out. The men of Wessex priest-ridden 
and enclosed by their own aristocracy quailed before the free 
Norsemen, among whom was not a single serf. The God-descended 
line of Cerdic and Alfred was exhausted. Vain, incapable, 
profligate Kings, the tools of such prelates as Odo and Dunstan 
were no match for such wild heroes as Thorkill the Tall or Olaf 
Trygvasson or Svend Forkbeard. The Danes had gradually seized 
not only their own Danelagh and Northumbria, but a great part 
of Wessex. Vast sums of Danegelt were yearly sent out of the 
country to buy off the fresh invasions which were perpetually 
threatened. Then Ethelred the Unready, or rather Evil-Counsel, 
advised himself to fulfil his name and the curse which Dunstan 
had pronounced against him at the baptismal font. By his 
counsel the men of Wessex rose against the unsuspecting Danes ; 
and on St Brice's Eve, A.D. 1002, murdered them all, man, 
woman, and child. It may be that they only did to the children 
as the fathers had done to them ; but the deed was ' worse than a 
crime ; it was a mistake.' The Danes of the Danelagh and 
Northumbria, their brothers of Denmark and Xorway, the Orkneys 
and the east coast of Ireland, remained unharmed. A mighty 
host of vikings passed from thence into England the very next 
year, under Svend Forkbeard and the great Canute ; and after 
thirteen fearful campaigns came the battle of Assingdon in Essex, 
where ' Canute had the victory ; and all the English nation 
fought against him ; and all the nobility of the English race was 
destroyed.' " 




HE condition of Tiverton at the time of the Conquest is set 
forth in that conscientious and comprehensive work, the 
Domesday book. From this we learn that in the hundred of 
Tiverton there were twenty hides, that of these the King had in 
his own clear payment fifty-four shillings for nine hides, while the 
King and his Barons had in their demesne five hides and one 
virgate ; that of these the King had three hides and a half, and 
Gotselmus, half a hide, and Walter of Clavill, half a hide, and Odo, 
the son of Grameline, one virgate, and William the Doorkeeper one 
virgate, and Harmeric de Arcis, half a virgate. After this all the 
other hides and virgates are satisfactorily accounted for, but the 
reader shall be spared further details. The Domesday book, 
though a triumph of statistics, is unquestionably dry reading; and 
though the eye gleams with sudden interest at the mention of 
William the Doorkeeper, and one wonders who he was, and why 
he was called the Doorkeeper (it is to be feared we shall never 
know), this is poor compensation a solitary grain among 
abundance of chaff. The truth is that these particulars can only 
be thoroughly enjoyed by a seasoned antiquary, who by dint of 
long practice has acquired a taste for them, and as this descrip- 
tion applies neither to the bulk of my readers nor to myself, we 
will take the liberty of skipping them. To prevent misconcep- 
tion, however, it may be as well to state that a hide is a measure 
of land, and a virgate, it is easily understood, is a fraction of the 

* There has been considerablejdispute as to the extent of a " hide " and 
its factors. Sir John Phear, in a paper read before the Devonshire 
Association, 1891, sums up the matter as follows : " There is much evid- 
ence to lead to the conclusion that as a rule in later Anglo-Saxon days 


The nature of this work forbids my presenting a finished 
biography, so far as one might be composed, of each Lord of the 
Manor, but it is proper that the reader should be possessed of the 
principal facts as regards the earlier incumbents of the office, and 
that for a sufficient reason. The distinction is now little more 
than titular, but in the beginning it was not so. Before the 
grant of a charter, the Lords of the Manor were the represen- 
tatives and vicegerents of the King, exercising a varying degree 
of power according to the circumstances of the time, but in the 
feudal epoch it was very great. Of this we shall have ample 
proof hereafter. At present we have to do with ' auncestrie ' ; 
our task is genealogical. The person, then, whom William the 
Conqueror invested with the lordship of Tiverton, as well as many 
other lordships up and down the county of Devon, was a certain 
Baldwin de Brionis. He was called also ' de Molis ' or ' de Sap,' 
for not as in these days, when a number of aliases, instead of 
buying favour, is apt to create suspicion, the possession of many 
names, intimating as many fiefs, was then esteemed an honour. 
In the case of Baldwin his name ' de Brionis ' was derived from 
his father's title of Brienne, a place in Normandy, while that of 
* de Molis ' had reference to the Castle of Mola in the same duchy, 
where he was born. He was a connexion, both by blood and 
marriage, of the Conqueror, his grandfather having been the 
natural son of .Richard, first Duke of Normandy, while he himself 
was married to Albreda, William's niece Baldwin was succeeded 
by his son, Eichard de Brionis, who died without male issue in 
1137, leaving his inheritance to his sister Adelicia, styled Countess 
of Devon. It is not known whom she married, but she had a 
daughter Alice, who was wedded to a Richard Avenell. The 
pedigree here points to an involuntary system of matriarchy,or, to 
use a term which has attained only to brevet rank in English 
literature, " petticoat-government." Sons would not be born. 
Thus Alice was the mother of Matilda, who, when she was come 
to years, became the wife of Robert de Abrincis, or Aurancis, Lord 
of Folkstone. By him she had three daughters, -and having 
married en seconder noces Robert Fitzroy, a natural son of Henry 
I., was blessed with a fourth daughter. The eldest, Hawisia, 
wedded Reginald de Courtenay, grandson of Louis le Gros, King 
of France, and with her the succession of great heiresses ends. Her 

the quantity of cultivable arable land, or full family share was 120 acres, 
or thereabouts; the yardland (virgate) or quarter share being conse- 
quently thirty acres, and the ferling or fourth part of the yardland seven 
and a half acres, or fifteen half-acres." This is perhaps as near as we can 
get to the truth on this subject. It is bare justice, however, to Sir John to 
state, that he does not in any way commit himself, his next sentence 
beginning " But although this was so, yet, nevertheless, etc." In fact, he 
tells us that the expression " half a hide " is no real clue, so that we are, 
about as well off as we were before. 


son Kobert married Mary, the youngest daughter of William de 
Eedvers, Earl of Devon, and had issue a son, John de Courtenay. 
John was the father of Hugh de Courtenay, who in 1274 was 
made Earl of Devon and received the Manor of Tiverton as part 
of his maternal inheritance. After this the lordship of Tiverton 
remained in the Courtenay family, with but slight interruption, for 
nearly three hundred years. 

In this account we have traversed a period of more than two 
centuries and have been in several ways anticipating. We must 
now hark back to the point from which we set out. The reader 
may have noticed or if not, he may do so now that Hugh de 
Courtenay inherited Tiverton from his mother. She, as we have 
said, was the daughter of William de Kedvers, and therefore not a 
descendant of Baldwin de Brionis, whose posterity has been faith- 
fully traced. The conclusion is evident that in some way the 
Manor of Tiverton had slipped out of their hands. This was most 
certainly the case. It would seem that Baldwin de Brionis had a 
brother, Eichard Fitz-G-ilbert, who, doubtless for sufficient 
reasons, assumed the additional name of Eedvers or Eivers. Now 
Eichard was a favourite of Henry I., who being desirous to mark 
his esteem for him, bestowed Tiverton and the honour of 
Plympton upon him and created him Earl of Devon. How such 
a transaction was possible, seeing that Tiverton was already the 
property of his brother's family, is not explained, but the fact, 
being indubitable, must be taken on trust. If any shade of 
dishonesty attaches to the proceeding, it may be palli- 
ated perhaps by the constitutional maxim that the King can do 
no wrong, or, failing that, by the usual plea in such cases, that 
people in those days didn't know any better. 

The seat of Baldwin de Brionis had been at Exeter, where he 
had greatly enlarged the Castle, and his interest in Tiverton was 
chiefly of a monetary nature. Eichard de Eedvers changed all 
that and such at least is the belief was the founder of Tiverton 
Castle. Here he took up his abode, and resolving to make himself 
comfortable, introduced to the astonished gaze of the inhabitants 
what was at that time the novel luxury of glazed windows. He 
likewise provided for his entertainment out of doors. In old 
numbers of the Tiverton Gazette it is common to find in the 
correspondence column the term "Park" in inverted commas, a 
mode of treatment which, it is needless to say, was not intended as a 
compliment. This was before the acquisition of the People's Park, 
and the name was applied to a somewhat steep, but very ordinary- 
looking field, which was traversed by a church-path and open 
therefore to the public. The writers of these paragraphs seem to 
have found no small difficulty in reconciling the aspect of the 
spot with their preconceived ideas of what a park ought in strict- 
ness to be, and from their own point of view may possibly have 
been justified in condemning it. They appear to have imagined 


that " the Park," as it then was, " was all for their delight," and 
that in the storied past some benevolent person had studied their 
happiness by throwing open to them the pleasant walk, and the 
very charming view which " the Park " affords. This account, how- 
ever, is not quite literal. The church-path we doubtless owe to the 
liberality of a former Lord of the Manor, but the Park itself was 
designed for the special gratification of the owner and his immediate 
friends. Originally it was on a far larger and more imposing 
scale, comprising one hundred and sixty acres.* On the other side 
of the town was Ashley Park, also belonging to the Castle and of 
even greater extent, covering as it did no less than six hundred 
and twenty one acres. Both these parks appear to have con- 
tained deer, evidence of which survived in a curious usage. The 
parish of Tiverton was formerly divided into four portions, Pitt, 
Tidcombe, Priors, and Clare. In addition to these, however, 
there was a fifth portion called " All Fours," which included the 
areas once occupied by Ashley Park and Castle Barton, and 
was subject to a modus, or compensation for tithes, which bore 
the singular name of " buck and doe money," being no doubt an 
equivalent for the yearly presentation to each rector of a buck 
and a doe. This modus must have been agreed to when the parks 
were destroyed. As a buck and a doe could no longer be given, 
an annual payment in money was substituted. As early as 1602 
50s. per annum, or 12s. 6d. to each rector, was paid for Ashley 
Park, and 30s. for Castle Barton. The actual disparking, how- 
ever, appears to have taken place some time before. Cleaveland 
in his history of the Courtenay family ascribes it to Henry VIII., 
acting under the advice of Sir Eichard Pollard. "The great 
park of Okehampton," he says, "Tiverton Park, and all the parks 
belonging to the Earls of Devon were destroyed by the King an 
act which his Majesty is said to have afterwards much regretted." 
How these parks were destroyed, it is impossible to say probably, 
however, by banishing the deer, felling the timber, and parcelling 
out the demesnes. According to a deed, dated February 2, 1624, 
one eighth of the " disparked park called Ashley Park " had been 
enclosed shortly before by Eoger Giffard. 

The son and successor of Eichard was Baldwin de Eedvers, who 
entered upon his inheritance in 1107. This Baldwin appears to 
have been of a pious turn, and, to quote a classical analogy, was 
the Numa Pompilius of the dynasty. He built three monasteries, 
that of Christ-church in Hampshire, Querrarra in the Isle of 
Wight, and Lira in Normandy. What is more to the purpose, he 
founded near Exeter a priory in honour of St, James, and, that 
the monks might never want a plentiful supply of cash, endowed 

* At Bolham there was formerly a large stone called the " Earl of 
Devonshire's Stone," which has been supposed to mark the limit of the 


it with the ecclesiastical revenues of Tiverton. " Totam ecclesiam 
de Twivertona cum omnibus pertinentiis suis, per manum praedicti 
domini Eoberti Exon. Episcopi donavi et praesenti scripto 
confirmavi" are the words of the pact, and thereto Baldwin de 
Eedvers set fast his seal. As might be expected, the result of 
this one-sided agreement was to introduce a world of confusion 
into parochial affairs, and although the discussion may be some- 
what tedious, I do not think a fitter place could be found for 
dealing with the subject than in this chapter. Before, however, 
we address ourselves to this somewhat formidable theme, we must 
say a few words about the church, since the mention of ecclesi- 
astical revenues evidently pre-supposes an edifice devoted to the 
worship of the Almighty. As the conversion of the English to 
Christianity took place some time before the Norman Conquest, 
it is requisite to imagine that even in those days Tiverton boasted 
a church, but whether of wood or stone, we cannot say. The 
existence, however, of such a building is purely a matter of infer- 
ence, all traces of it having long since passed away. As regards 
the present edifice, our first notice of it carries us back to the 
year of grace 1073, when Leofricus, first Bishop of Exeter, in the 
last year of his episcopate and his life, performed the ceremony of 
consecration. In the course of ages many additions have been 
made to it, and of the original fabric only a fragment remains. 
This is a Norman doorway close to the wing now occupied by the 
organ.* Its situation seems to refute Hewett's theory we can 
hardly in such a case say testimony that St. Peter's was at first 
a small building on the site of the present chancel. Its compara- 
tive insignificance, however this we can readily believe. It is 
scarcely doubtful that the church was dedicated both to St. Peter 
and St. Paulf, though the honour of patronhood is now ex- 
clusively enjoyed by the former. Here we must pause for the 
moment, reserving any further observations on the building to 
the appropriate occasion. 

The deed which Baldwin had executed in 1146 was confirmed 
eleven years later by his son. Soon, we are not surprised to 
learn, a dispute arose between the Canons of Tiverton and the 
Prior and Monks of St. James respecting the church. In accord- 

* Another relic, though there is naturally more doubt on this point, is 
the window at the east end of the South Aisle, which is believed to be 
one of the original windows of that aisle, the others having been re- 
moved at the time of the enlargement by Greenway. 

t This is vouched for by Willis, in his " Notitia Parliamentaria," and 
by Risdon, in his ' Survey of Devon." Moreover, by the will of David 
Ap Thomas, alias David Phelip, alias John Weyber, bearing date the 1st of 
June, 1518, the reversion of certain lands was granted to John Provrse 
and John Rewe, Churchwardens of the Parish Church of Saint Peter and 
Paul at Tiverton, for certain objects therein mentioned. 


ance with the original grant the monks claimed the whole 
benefice,but the Canons seem to have been in no hurry to quit. To 
allay the disturbance Earl Eichard ("for this was the name of 
Baldwin's son) made out a fresh deed, by which he assigned one 
half of the parish to the Priory, while the other was to maintain 
two clerks for the discharge of ecclesiastical functions on the spot. 
It is, however, to be noticed that in making this arrangement 
Eichard expressly stipulated that the rights of three persons 
" William, brother of Alexander, formerly dean, William de 
Maneleche, and Scwacher, his brother," then in possession of 
the last moiety were not to be disturbed. Here, then, we appear 
to have the germ of the peculiar division of Tiverton into four 
portions. As is evident from this instance, the decrees of 
the House of Redvers were by no means as the laws of the Medes 
and Persians, which could never be broken. These great nobles, 
it is clear, had a receptive mind, a heart susceptible to appeal, 
and an eye to wink at trifling infractions of their sovereign will. 
The probability is, therefore, that as each of the canons above- 
mentioned died off, another succeeded to his office, and that in 
this way what was intended as only a provisional and temporary 
adjustment was perpetuated. By the year 1291 at any rate the 
system of four portions or prebends was full bloom, for we find 
mention of them in the record of a taxation by Pope Nicholas IV.* 
This document also appears to supply the key to the name of at 
least one of the prebends, which is there described as the " Porco 
Baronis de Clare,' the same individual being called elsewhere 
Bogo de Clare. The origin of the name " Prior's Portion " re- 
quires no explanation. It evidently refers to the Priory of St. 
James. How Tidcombe and Pitt portions came by their names is 
not so certain, but the likeliest solution is that suggested by the 
analogous case of Clare. They were probably in the first instance 
the names of incumbents (quasi ' Tidcombe's portion,' ' Pitt's 
portion ') which for some reason, probably from long possession of 
their benefices by the particular persons, " caught on." For 
whatever cause Pitt Portion took precedence of the others, Clare 
being second and Tidcombe third. In the Episcopal Eegister, 
July llth, 1347, it is recorded that John Martyn was admitted 
by Bishop Grandisson " ad portionem prindpalem in Ecclesia de 

* The portion of the inventory referring to Tiverton reads as follows : 



s. d. s. d. 

Porco Robti de Litelbur' in Ecciia de Tiv'ton ... 710 14 l 

Porco Rici de Roffa, in eadem ... ... 792 01411 

Porco Baronis de Clare, in eadem ... ... 710 14 1 

Prior Sci Jacobi juxta Exon, in eadem 4 3 8| 8 4 

See Oliver's Monasticon, page 193. 


Tiverton Atte Pute vulgariter nuncupatam," (Pitt). His successor 
was Walter Kobert, the official of the Archdeacon of Exeter, 
concerning whom an interesting anecdote has been preserved. 
Robert, it appears, had a dispute with one of his neighbours, 
followed by litigation which resulted in favour of the parson. By 
and bye the good man died and was buried. When they came to 
read his last will and testament, they found in it the following 
curious clause : 

" And whereas a little time ago testator brought an action of 
law against Stephen Fouracre, and recovered from him ten marks, 
and perhaps went beyond the bounds of moderation, and made 
haste to revenge himself in the said action, and because the said 
Stephen is a poor man although he brought a false charge, and 
that he did, so God knoweth nevertheless, as in the fear of God, 
I leave him twenty shillings, but then he must give up the 
rancour he nourishes towards me in his heart, and keep a decent 
tongue in his head for the future, a thing which he has never 
been accustomed to do, or, at any rate, seldom." 

In the reign of Henry V. an Act was passed for the seizure of 
all alien houses which were not conventual, and this, so far as the 
Priory of St. James, Exon, was concerned, was the beginning of 
the end. Finally, King Henry VI. bestowed the priory and all 
its dependencies on King's College, Cambridge, and the Provost 
and Fellows enjoyed the privilege of appointing a * perpetual ' 
curate. In my last chapter I shall show how these curious 
settlements were overthrown, and replaced by a more sensible 
arrangement, in the nineteenth century. Having given what is 
the historical reality with respect to the Tiverton portions, with 
just that amount of conjecture which is necessary to piece over 
an obvious difficulty, I will now quote the popular explanation 
of the affair, which arose through ignorance of the actual facts, 
and which at least has the merit of being piquant and amusing. 
My authority is Westcote and his words are these : 

" It is said, by common tradition, that in the tyme of Hugh. 2nd 
Earl of 1 )evon, of the Courtenay's (Edward 3rd) the then incumbent, 
on whom he had bestowed the living, being (as it is to be supposed) 
of a generous and bountifull disposition, would complain in 
generality, and sometimes in the presence of his Lord's Officers, 
that the profits of the rectory yielded not a sufficient maintaynance 
for one of his place to keepe hospitallitye answerable to his call- 
ing. This often spoken, came at length to the Earl, his patron's 
eares, who, in convenient time, conferred with his chaplain to that 
purpose, telling him that he had heard of his speeches, and con- 
sidered thereof, and was purposed to use his best meanes to pro- 
cure him a living more proportionable to his minde, at least more 
convenient for him if he would resigne that. The incumbent 
tickled with these wordes and filled with the hope of higher 
promotion, was ready presently to resigne, and the noble Earle (a 


worke worthy his wisdome) divided it (as in these dayes might 
with facilitye be done) into foure partes, or quarters. Prior, 
Tydcombe, Clare, and Pitt, intending to bestow it on foure divers 
men ; and with respect to his old chaplaine, offered him the chiefe, 
which he, (perceiving his Lordship's intent, and seeing no other 
preferment coming), gratefully accepted ; and thereby was fairely 
taught to live by a crowne that could not formerly live by a 
pound, and may advise others to be content when they are well. 

' Nature's with little pleas'd, enough's a feast : 
A sober life but a small charge requires. 
But man, the author of his owne unrest, 
The more he hath, the more he still desires.' 

And this is now held a reasonable competency for three worthy 
learned men that supply the places, and the fourth is appropriated 
or impropriated to King's College, Cambridge." 

Under the year 1200 Dunsford, whom Harding copies, makes 
some inaccurate remarks on the extent of the town at that time. 
To judge from his description it was then substantially the same 
as it is now, with the exception of Westexe. He does not quote 
his authority, but in accordance with a not unusual practice on 
his part, refers us to a section of part iv., where again we are 
exhorted to apply to a certain place in part ii. We do so, but 
only to find that we have been sent on a fool's errand. Whoever 
may be primarily responsible, and we may be pretty sure that it is 
no one who was alive in A.D. 1200, there can be no doubt that 
Dunsford has gone astray in the wilderness. Harding's second 
volume was published in 1847, two years later than the first, and 
in the meantime he had made the striking discoveries that in 
1598 i.e. nearly four centuries after the date specified by Dunsford 
and his own former self, Tiverton ended with Fore-street, that 
G-reenway's Alms-houses stood almost alone, and that in all proba- 
bility Gold-street was not built until after the fire of 1612. The 
reader will be interested to learn that the lower part of the town, 
between the said alms-houses and the Lowman, went, so late as the 
year 1662, by the name of ' Germanie.'* It is not easy to account 
for this. The best suggestion 1 can offer is that at some early 
period in the history of the town a body of Flemish settlers may 
have been quartered there, in connection with the woollen manu- 
facture. Other districts also have in the progress of time been 
re-christened. Fore-street as recently as 1731 was called High- 
street, and to the end of the last century Angel-hill bore the 
shorter and less ecstatic appellation of Oat-hill. There is, how- 
ever, no mystery about either name, the latter being derived from 
the oat market, held there, while the former was borrowed from 

* ''Apropos of this, it may be observed that, in consequence of a quaint 
rivalry between Westexe and the upper part of the town, the former is 
vulgarly called " Ireland," and its inhabitants " Irish." 


the sign of the neighbouring inn. Next, as to Westexe. In the 
earliest times it was a separate tything and for many centuries 
remained quite distinct from Tiverton proper. It had its own 
market, situated according to tradition in Wellbrook (rightly, 
Wild-brook). This leads us to speak of Exe-bridge. As we have 
already had occasion to remark, primitive Tiverton was unprovided 
with this convenience. When the bridge was first built, we have 
no means of ascertaining, but it was certainly anterior to the 
year 1448, for at that season Bishop Lacy granted an indulgence 
of forty days " to the truly contrite, who should contribute to the 
rebuilding of Tiverton bridge." In 1568 Walter Tyrrell (no 
connexion of William Euf us' assassin) left considerable funds to 
be expended " in the buildinge and erectinge, repaireing and 
maintayneing, of the bridge in Twyverton, alias Tyverton, 
comonly called West Ex Bridge"; and Dunsford is of opinion 
that the bridge as restored by Tyrrell's trustees was the identical 
structure visible in ] 790. Since then the bridge has on several 
occasions been widened, besides undergoing various other alter- 
ations, so that the original features have in a large measure 

We must now go back to the Lords of the Manor. The last 
whom we mentioned was Richard, son of Baldwin de Redvers. 
Richard was succeeded by his son Baldwin II., and Baldwin II. by 
his brother Richard. As both died without issue, their uncle, 
William de Vernon, obtained the inheritance, and then, following 
him, came Baldwin III. This, I am aware, is a slight and jejune 
account and one which, brief as it is, no grown-up person, and no 
child, except as a task, will t-ver commit to memory. Nor is there 
need. So far as I can learn, these four reigns were entirely 
inglorious and wholly without effect on the destinies of Tiverton, 
Now, however, the ladies appear on the scene, and the interest of 
the drama revives. Baldwin III . married Amicia, daughter of 
Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, his step-father, and on his 
death, which occurred in 1245, his widow laid claim to the manor 
and lordship of Tiverton as part of her dower. This for the time 
was allowed, but some years later proceedings were instituted 
which afford striking proof how great was the power wielded in 
those days by the Lords of the Manor. Within certain bounds 
their sovereignty appears to have been absolute. Thus, in the 
case before us, when Amicia was summoned by a quo ivarranto to 
prove her title to her possessions, among other privileges she 
vindicated her right to view of frank-pledge, assize of bread and 
beer, a gallows, a pillory, a weekly market, and three annual fairs. 
Let us think for a moment what this means. " View of frank- 
pledge " is the right of inspecting the pledge or surety for the 
conduct of the freemen, under a system in which every member 
of the tything was answerable for the good behaviour of the rest. 
" Assize of bread and beer " is the right of assessing the weight 


or measure and price of those commodities. The terms "gallows " 
and " pillory " speak for themselves. In fact, the Countess of 
Devon claimed nothing less than the power to hang, draw, and 
quarter within her Manor of Twyford. The actual gallows seem 
to have been erected at a spot called White-down on the road to 
Cullompton. Lastly, the words " market" and " fairs " represent 
the tolls which were levied on those who wished to traffic in them, 
and which formed part of the manorial revenue. The value of 
these privileges was estimated at sixty marks, but the statement 
conveys very little to our minds. A mark is equal to 13s. 4d. 
of our present money, but 13s. 4d. then went considerably further 
than it does now, or Amicia would have been poor indeed. 
Whatever the property may have been, it was secured to her during 
her life-time, and after her decease it was to descend to her grand- 
daughter Isabella, Countess of Albemarle. 

It is usually stated that Isabella, Countess of Devon, about the 
year 1250, made two gifts to the town the Town Lake and 
Elmore. Harding, however, in his second volume maintains that 
Amicia was the donor. His arguments are not convincing, but 
the evidence for Isabella being the benefactress rests on a very 
slender foundation in fact, on tradition. The only existing 
document which bears on the subject is the copy of an attes- 
tation in the Court of Chancery by John Deyman, Gentleman, 
dated 1624, in which it is stated : " The Earl of Devon (with the 
consent of Madam Alson de Eos and Symon her sonne, then Earl 
of Westmorland) long since (aboute the tyme of King Edward 
1st) gave a certaine Siverett or Brooke, commonlie called the 
Town Lake, to remaine to the use of the Inhabitants of the 
Towne of Tiverton for ever. ..." Blundell identifies this Madam 
Alson with Isabella de Fortibus, but even if they were the same 
person, which is sufficiently doubtful, the gift is attributed to an 
Earl of Devon Can Hugh de Courtenay be meant ? Anyhow, if 
we are to place any reliance on this attestation, it disposes of 
Madam Alson and, with her, of Isabella de Fortibus, so far as the 
Town Lake is concerned, not, however, as regards Elmore. For 
in this identical document it is said, "And the same Madam Alson 
de R-os gave Elmore unto certaine freeholders of the said Towne 
to remayne for a Comon to the use of the poore Inhabitants of 
the Towne of Tiverton aforesaid forever." It is added with a 
nasty particularity, " the order was that if anie p(er)son did take 
awaye anie earth there for his buildinge or other Comoditie, then 
he shoulde bringe in soo manye seams of dongue or other good 
soyle to fill upp the pitt or pitts againe. And this hath byn the 
order tyme out of mynde." 

Who, then, was this Madam Alson de Eos, for we must needs 
believe that she had an existence? It is highly probable, I think, 
that she was the individual who is called Alis de Eoos, and of 
whom Pole says in his History of Devon that she held Chettis- 


combe and West Chevithorne in the time of Henry III. This 
explains why the Earl of Devon found it necessary to obtain her 
consent in presenting the Town Leat. It flowed through her 
property. If we need further confirmation of the theory, it is 
available in the words of the attestation, where it is stated " the 
water riseth in the lands sometyme the Earle of Devon's called 
Buckhayes and Whiddon, and by consent conveyoed (sic) over a 
p(ar)cell of the lands sometyme the Inheritance of y e Earle of 
Westmorland of the Manor of Chettiscombe." It is singular that 
an explanation apparently so simple should not have suggested 
itself either to Dunsford or Harding. I shall refer to these 
donations, so different in their subsequent history, in the order 
in which they are named in the deposition. 

The name Whiddon in this document seems to be a provin- 
cialized form of White down, otherwise known as Norwood, the 
place in question being about five miles from the town. Thence the 
stream makes its way to Chettiscombe, where, in accordance with 
the original provisions, it is tapped by a pipe two inches in 
diameter ; and there is a second diversion which, after passing 
Moorhayes and Pinnex Moor, enters El more and falls into the 
Lowman just above the Mill-head. The main current reaches 
Tiverton by what is termed par excellence Water-lane, which 
debouches at the junction of Bampton and Barrington-streets. 
The water is then distributed, by means of gutters, over the whole 
of the town. Several interesting customs used to be observed in 
connection with the Town Lake. The funds for preserving and 
purifying the stream were raised by voluntary contributions, 
apportioned by a rate made by the water-bailiffs,who were elected 
every year at the court of the manor or hundred. These officers 
had the power, on a warrant from the magistrates, of summoning 
anyone they pleased to attend personally or by deputy for the 
object of cleansing or repairing the water course, and removing 
obstructions. Here is a specimen of the form used : 
Mr. Roger Pitt 

BY Virtue of an Authority for that purpose we do here- 
by give you Notice to attend with proper Tools 
and Materials at the Village of Chettiscombe 
within the Town or Parish of Tiverton aforesaid at Six 

o'clock in the morning, on Friday next to 

proceed under the Direction of the Water Bailiff, or one 
of them, to repair, imbank, Amend, Cleanse, and scour, 
during the continuance of that Day, the Ancient and 
public Water Course, Lake, and Stream of Water, 
which runneth from NORWOOD COMMON, through Chet- 
tiscombe, within the said Parish of Tiverton, into and 
through the streets of the Town of Tiverton aforesaid. 
Herein fail not. Dated the ninth day of December 1799. 
John Osmond \ -nr t -a -TJV 

Richard Skiver \ Water Bailiffs. 


The victims were generally those who had neglected to pay their 
quota, and failure to attend was punished as a misdemeanour. 
Every five or six years there is a solemn (?) perambulation. When 
this ceremony was instituted, there is no evidence to show, but it 
is probably very ancient, as it has certainly been very useful. 
Constant attempts have been made by farmers occupying adjacent 
lands to utilise the stream for purposes of irrigation, and but for 
this precaution the Town Lake might have shared the fate of 
Elmore and been wholly lost to the inhabitants. From the 
foundation of the Charity School in 1713 to its abolition in 1877, 
the Blue-coat boys (so called from their distinctive and very 
peculiar dress) formed an integral part of the procession. In the 
latter year, which it was thought would witness the death of this 
interesting and time-honoured custom,* the official order was as 
follows : Four pioneers carrying a hatchet, a spade, a pick-axe, 
and a saw ; the bailiff of the hundred, with his staff ; charity boys 
carrying white wands with which to beat the stream ; the water 
bailiff ; the band of the Rifle Volunteers; the steward of the Lord 
of the Manor ; the borough surveyor ; the street contractors ; the 
inspector of police ; the town crier ; the policemen ; the members 
of the Town Council ; and the inhabitants of the borough. Many 

* On account of the completion of the Water-works. Since writing the 
above I have made the following discovery as to the manner in which 
the perambulation was conducted more than a hundred years before. 

In a small manuscript book formerly in the possession of Mr. James 
Mills (and bearing- on the fly-leaf the inscription " Matthew Talley, 
1775 ") a record is given of a Town Leat Perambulation on September 
1st, 1774, as copied from the Court Leet books in the custody of Mr. 
Henry Atkins, the then Steward of the Manor of Tivertou. The record 
is as follows ; 

" A procession and survey of the ancient rivulet, watercourse, or town 
lake, running from a spring rising- near an ash pollard in, and at the 
head of a certain common called Norwood Common, within the said 
Hundred, Manor, and Borough to Coggan's Well, near the Market Cross, 
in the town of Tiverton aforesaid, belonging to the inhabitants of, and 
others his Majesty's liege subjects, living, sojourning, and residing in the 
town of Tiverton aforesaid, for their sole use and benefit, was made and 
taken by Mr. Martin Dunsford (Portreeve), Henry Atkins, Esq., 
(Steward), Thomas Warren and Philip Davey (water bailiffs), and the 
Rev. Mr. William Wood, Mr. Beavis Wood. Mr. George Cruwys, Mr. 
William Sanders, Mr. William Jenkins, Mr. Perry Dicken, Mr. George 
Dunsford, Mr. Bernard Besley, Mr. Francis Besley, Mr. Henry Burgess, 
M r. George James, Mr. George Snell, Mr. Hugh Sweetland, Mr. John 
Weech,jun., Mr. Samuel Burgess, Mr. Robert Bryant, Mr. Abraham 
Mills, Mr. Thomas Gill, Mr. George Wood, and Mr. Matthew Talley, and 
divers other persons, free suitors, tenants, and inhabitants of the said town 
parish, and hundred of Tiverton, by the order of the honourable Sir 
Thomas Carew, Baronet, Dame Elizabeth Carew, and Edward Colman, 
Esq., Lords of the Hundred, Manor, and Borough aforesaid, the first day 
of September in the y^ar of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and 
seventy-four. The Portreeve and Free Suitors having adjourned the 
Court Baron, which was this day held, proceeded from the Court or 


of the latter declined to be included in the procession, preferring 
(for reasons which will shortly appear) the part of spectators. 
The meeting-place was the Town Hall and the party first pro- 
ceeded to what was once Coggan's Well, in which sacred but 
vulgarly christened spot the tutelar divinity of Tiverton must be 
supposed to reside. Here the following proclamation was read : 
" Yes ! O Yes ! ! Yes ! ! ! I do hereby proclaim and give 
notice that under and by virtue of all wills, gifts, Acts of Parlia- 
ment, rights by prescription and all other powers and rights, on 
behalf of this town and parish the Town Council publicly claim 
this stream of water for ever, for the sole use and benefit, and as 
the right of the inhabitants of the town of Tiverton, from the 
well called Coggan's Well to the head of the stream on Norwood 
Common. God save the Queen!" 

After this the " fun " began. First one, then another of the 
perambulating crowd was pushed or tripped into the stream, the 
sufferers accepting their punishment good-humouredly, while the 
by-standers laughed heartily. Proper respect was of course paid 
to officials, and in connexion with this celebration neither Mayor, 
alderman, nor councillor was involuntarily immersed. It was not 
always so, and old inhabitants, whose memory went back to the 

Church House in the following order : The Bailiff of the Hundred with 
his staff and a basket of cakes ; the children of the Charity School, and 
other poor boys two and two ; the two water bailiffs with white staves ; 
music ; Freeholders and Free Suitors two and two ; the Steward ; the 
Portreeve with his staff ; other gentlemen of the town, &c., who attended 
the Portreeve on this occasion ; the Common Cryer of the Hundred, 
Manor, and Borough aforesaid, as assistant to the Bailiff of the Hundred 
with his staff. In this manner they proceeded at first to the Market 
Cross, and there at Coggan's Well the Cryer with his staff in the well, 
made the following proclamation in the usual and ancient form. ' O 
Yez ! Yez ! ! O Yez ! ! ! I do hereby proclaim and give notice, that by 
order of the Lords of this Hundred. Manor, and Borough of Tiverton, and 
on behalf on the inhabitants of this town and parish, the Portreeve and 
other officers of this Hundred, Manor, and Borough, and other the 
inhabitants now here assembled, publicly proclaim this stream of water, 
for the sole use and benefit of the inhabitants of the town of Tiverton, 
and other his Majesty's liege subjects there being and sojourning, from 
the Market Cross in Tiverton to Norwood Common.' They then pro- 
ceeded in the same order, through the Bask Lane, in every part as it ran 
by and through the ancient path of the water bailiff's time out of mind, 
and made the like proclamation at the following places: At the Great 
Shute, at the Townsend, and head of Bampton-street ; atGuddle Linhay; 
at Chettiscombe Bridge ; at a meadow near Aller's House ; at the first 
field belonging to Hone Estate ; at Passmore's Hayes ; at Norwood 
Common near an ash pollard where the spring on Town Lake arises. 
The Portreeve and free suitors and others that attended them in their 
way noted every diversion and nuisance that seemed to affect the Lake, 
and afterwards returned to Tiverton and dined at the Vine Tavern, 
where they gave the following charity children, and other poor boys 
that attended them twopence a-piece." [Here follow the names of 39 


year when they " ducked " the Mayor, were heard to lament the 
degeneracy of the age, and even went so far as to urge a 
revolutionary attack on the authorities ; a piece of advice which 
the assembly had the good sense to disregard. Similar scenes 
were enacted all along the route to Norwood Common, the numer- 
ous bridges, stepping-stones, and turnings affording excellent 
opportunities for " ducking " the bolder or more unwary members 
of the throng. At various intervals the proclamation was read 
by the Town Crier, and the day's proceedings wound up with a 
dinner at the Palmerston Hotel. Previous to the Municipal 
Reform Act of 1835 the portreeve took the place of the Mayor, 
but, apart from the official element,it is probable that the account 
which has been just given represents fairly enough the character 
of the celebration (technically known as " water-baileying "), as it 
has been handed down from generation to generation. The 
traditional account of the donation has been worked up in a 
poetical form, as under. The verses are, I should say, the work 
of a lady. 


A lady sat in stateliness, in her baronial hall, 
Nor marked the golden sunshine fall upon the tapestried wall ; 
She heeded not the shades that crept in at the Gothic door, 
.Nor mullioned casement's softened light, cast on the oaken floor. 

E'en when the fading evening waned into twilight dim, 
She summoned not her serving-maids, the silver lamp to trim, 
But musing sat for on that day her gray-haired seneschal 
Had given her the yearly roll of her possessions all. 

And she had seen how everywhere, north, south, and east.and west, 
With produce all her vast estates had bounteously been blest ; 
And full of gratitude to Him who gives increase and store, 
The lady in her thankfulness ponder'd her blessings o'er. 

" Out on the gratitude, 1 ' she cried, " that spends itself in words, 
Let me give of my worldly goods ; my crops, my flocks, and herds I " 
" But yet such benefits,' she thought, " will soon be spent and gone, 
Many not half so blest as I more for the Lord have done." 

. " God's blessings we should imitate, they last for evermore, 
Cannot I give some temporal good, for ever to God's poor ? 
Where have I most been favoured, and where presseth need the most ? 
God's benefits are without bound, and shall I count the cost ? " 

Countess of Westmoreland, she passed that northern county o'er, 
Her barony of Skipton too, and each bleak Yorkshire moor, 
Nought in her sunny Isle of Wight bespoke her mission there ; 
She turned, Countess of Devon, to her westward manors fair. 

There, where the dark red-sandstone blends with rich emerald green ; 
There, where the lofty hedge-rows hide lane and all between ; 
There, where tall trees o'ershadow rich crops and lowing kine ; 
She cried, "God's choicest blessing, Fair Devon ! sure is thine ! " 


She saw that in the ancient burgh, or town, of Twyfordtown, 
Built on a hill, 'twixt rivers twain, of water there was none; 
It mattered little to the rich, for them deep wells were sank, 
But the poor toiled down the weary hill for each drop that they drank. 

The lady paused and pondered long " Here I can help the poor, 
And pour a crystal streamlet past each humble cottage door ; 
Just five miles off, in good Buckhayes, there riseth strong and clear 
A spring, the half of which will give water for ever here ! " 

Then she commanded that one half of that fair rivulet 
Be brought through Chettiscombe estate, without hindrance or let, 
And on, at her sole cost and charge, a water course was made 
Those five long miles to Twyfordtown, and there her hand was stayed. 

Though years have passed, and much is changed, the streamlet still 

runs on, 

Though Twyfordtown has merged and sunk its name in Tiverton, 
Down through each street that lady's gift still pours its silver tide, 
And the townsfolk bless her memory, as they watch it onward glide. 

I now turn to the other branch of our enquiry. 

Great obscurity surrounds the history of Elmore Common. It 
is possible, as has been suggested, that Madam Alson de Ros did 
not give the lands, but only the proceeds. In any case the 
common was gradually enclosed. At some time probably on the 
execution of Henry, Marquis of Exeter, and the confiscation of his 
property, 1538 the lands passed to the Crown. On an appeal 
being made to the Government to restore to the poor the use of 
Elmore Common, the Crown in 1693 granted a lease to the Mayor 
and Burgesses of Tiverton for 99 years at the yearly rent of 20s. 
on condition that the whole of the 150 acres were redeemed. This 
was found to be impossible. After great efforts only 30 acres 
were redeemed, which were leased to a number of persons for the 
benefit of the poor. In the meantime we find that certain 
closes, plots, and quillets, notably Elmore Park and Elmore 
Meadow, were the subject of transactions between private 
individuals, being bought and sold in the open market. The 
lease granted by William and Mary expired in 1792 and another 
bearing date 10th December, 1806, was granted by the Crown to 
the Mayor and Burgesses of Tiverton, their successors and 
assigns, for 31 years, from the 10th October, 1803, at 20s per 
annum, for the benefit of the poor of the town and parish of 
Tiverton not receiving parish relief. The lands had now dwindled 
from 30 acres to 17a. 3r. 27p., a difference which has not been 
accounted for, but which, it seems, must be set down to careless 
or interested administration. This may be inferred from what 
happened after the renewal of the lease. All the lands were let 
by auction under the direction of the Corporation, except a few 
small parcels which were let from year to year. So far as is 
known, no rent was ever paid to the Corporation for some of the 


gardens and orchards last mentioned, " and " says Harding, " they 
are claimed by their present possessors as their own property." 
The truth seems to be that these losses were due to an abuse 
called " pepper-corn rents " The members of the old Corporation 
agreed among themselves that certain of their body should occupy 
lands rent-free on the understanding that they should be returned 
to the burgesses in an improved condition, but, instead of this 
being the case, the occupiers by prescription acquired a title to 

The amount of rent which was produced annually by the lands 
not so absorbed was .49 14s., subject to deductions (about 
5 8s. 5d. yearly) for land-tax, poor-rates, and church-rates, which 
were paid by the Corporation. The mode of distribution was as 
follows : The members of the Corporation met on St. John's 
Day. After the various sums had been added together the 
amount was divided into as many portions as there were corpor- 
ators present. Each was informed of the sum thus placed at his 
disposal and he was instructed to distribute it to four poor persons 
of the town or parish, who were not in receipt of parochial relief. 
After the distribution each corporator handed to the Town Clerk 
a list of the persons to whom the money had been paid. On the 
expiration of the lease in 1834 the Corporation presented a 
memorial to the Commissioners of Woods and Forests for a 
renewal of it. This was refused, and the order was given " to sell 
by public auction the residue of Elmore lands, and the produce 
thereof to be invested for the benefit of the poor of Tiverton 
parish, which consisted of the parcels of meadow, pasture and arable 
lands and gardens before specified." 

Eesearches into the history of Elmore Common have brought 
to light an interesting fact. In various old deeds reference is 
made to a field at the foot of Exeter Hill, which had a tree in the 
centre. This field was called " The Butt " and the tree was used 
as a target for arrows. Again, in the list of Elmore lands which 
are included in the Crown lease of 1 806 we find mentioned a 
close of land called a " field to Butt" (otherwise, Gilbert's close), 
obviously in allusion to the same practice. As I have not been 
able to lay hands on any local documents illustrative of the 
point, I must content myself with supplying general information. 
First, however, let me cite some memoranda discovered in 1799 
by the Hector of Dartington, near Totnes. They appear to have 
belonged to some churchwarden's accounts, but where he found 
them was in an old chest, which had stood for many years in an 

" 1557. Item, payd to Eichard Mowntegew, for a sword for 
the warys, ijs. viijd" 

" 1568. Item, pd. for iij. Calyvers & a\v. Pikes, vis." 

" 1572. Item, pd. to John Twegges for iiij. cases of Arrows 
iJB, iiijd" 


" 1583. Item, pd, to the constable to the treynyng of the 
soldiers at Whitsintud, vijs. viijd. 

" 1600. A sword, with a basket hilt, girdles, hangings, and 

In the olden times every man was a soldier. By the great 
statute of Winchester (13 Edw. I. cap. 6), which was repeated 
and expanded on many subsequent occasions, it was enacted 
" That every man shall have harness in his house ; that every man 
between 15 years and 60 shall be assessed to armour according to 
the quantity of his lands and goods, that is, to wit, for fifteen 
pounds lands and forty marks goods a hauberke, a helmet of iron, 
a sword and a dagger. All others that may, shall have bows and 
arrows." By the same statute of Winchester it was enacted that 
constables should be appointed, two to every hundred in England,to 
see that every man was properly armed. The bow soon became 
the peculiar weapon of the English. As archery developed, 
regular practice was ordered and shooting became at once the 
drill and amusement of the people. Every village had its pair of 
butts ; and magistrates, mayors, and bailiffs were required, under a 
fine of twenty shillings for each neglect of duty, to see that all 
able-bodied men appeared in the field on Sundays and holy-days 
to shoot at the mark as " valyant Englishmen ought to do " (12 
Richard II., cap. 6). It is a fact worthy of notice that when, as 
in the early days of Henry VIII., these manly sports were grow- 
ing into disfavour, the hardy character of the people sensibly 
degenerated When Lord Surrey was expecting the Duke of 
Albany to invade the northern borders in 1523, he complained 
in bitterness of heart of the " growing slowness " of the young 
men and of their preference for " dicing, dancing, and carding." 
But Henry re-enacted the Winchester statute with new and 
stringent provisions. In the preamble of the Act he " called to 
his gracious remembrance " how through their skill in archery, 
his subjects had " in times heretofore past reduced divers regions 
and countries to their due obeisance, to the honour of the realm 
and the terror of strange nations." Wherefore he commanded 
that every man under 60 years of age except justices, spiritual 
persons, &c. should " have a bow continually in his house to use 
himself in shooting " and that they " should learn and bring up 
their children in the same." 

So much for military matters. As to police, in 1294 a 
constable and six " able " assistants were appointed to serve as a 
watch. Their duty was to patrol the streets from Ascension- 
day to Michaelmas. They were to see that the water was kept 
running, and, in case of fire, they were to ring the market-bell. 
Lastly, if they met with any strayed revellers or disorderly 
persons in the course of their peregrinations, they were to arrest 
them. This was continued till 1802. Other items which may 
perhaps be inserted are the following : 


" In the Episcopate of Bishop Brantyngham, at an ordination 
celebrated in Tiverton Church by William Courtenay, Bishop of 
Hereford, on the 8th June, 1370, there were ordained 374 persons, 
of whom 163 received the first tonsure; 120 were ordained 
Acolyths ; 30 Subdeacons ; 31 Deacons ; and 30 Priests." 

" On the 6th September, 1413, Bishop Stafford addressed a 
letter to Walter Robert, in which he observed that with the 
exception of the chancel, the parishioners of Tiverton were 
bound to keep the rest of the Church in repair and see that the 
churchyard was properly fenced in ; and yet they had been 
grossly neglectful in these points. He commissioned him to call 
a meeting of the parishioners, and to take information of what 
required repair, and to signify to them that they must even re- 
build their church, should this be found necessary." 

" On the 23rd August, 1419, Bishop Stafford issued a commission 
to reconcile the church-yard, which had been polluted by the 
effusion of human blood, in a recent affray between Matthew 
Row and John Barnstaple. A similar occurrence took place, as 
we discover in Bishop Lacy's commission of 5th November, 1450, 
between John Tydecombe and Michael Chaundler, on 30th October 
of that year." 

Hugh Courtenay, second Earl of Devon of that name, is commonly 
supposed to have founded a chapel situated on the north of St. 
Peter's, and here in 1419 his grandson and successor was buried. 
Risdon, in his "View of Devonshire " (1630) thus refers to the 
subject : In the Churchyard is a chapel built by the Earls of this 
County, and appropriated to their burials (now demolished) under 
which Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, and his Countess were 
interred, having their effigies of alabaster sometime sumptuously 
gilded ; and was about 40 years ago to be seen, and which, it 
lamenteth me to write, time hath not so much defaced as men 
have mangled that magnificent monument, which had this written 
thereon, as some have seen : 

" Hoe ! Hoe I who lyes here ? 

Tis I, the good Erie of Devonshire, 

With Kate, my wife, to me full dere, 

We lived together fifty-five yere. 

That wee spent, wee had 

That we gave, wee have ; 

That wee left, wee loste." 

This will form a fit introduction to the description of a splendid 
funeral pageant which took place about a hundred years later. 
As I prefer not to mar this account by attempting a paraphrase 
of my own, I give it nearly in the words of the old historian : 

" On Friday, the 15th of November, at eight o'clock in the even- 
ing, the Princess Catherine, youngest daughter of King Edward 
IV. and widow of William Courtenay, Earl of Devon and Lord of 


this Manor, died in the Castle of Tiverton. Her body being em- 
balmed, leaded and chested, it was conveyed from thence to the 
chapel and placed within a bar, covered with a pall of black velvet 
on which was a cross of white satin, and upon that another pall 
of cloth of gold, with a cross of silver tissue thereon, ornamented 
with six escutcheons of her arms. There it was attended day and 
night, with great funeral pomp, till Monday, the 2nd of Decem- 
ber, when, with a formal procession, it was brought to St. Peter's 
Church, under a canopy of velvet borne by six esquires ; at each 
corner whereof a banner of saints was carried by as many 
esquires, viz. of the Trinity, Our Lady, St. Edward, and St. 
Catherine, the bearers all in black gowns and hoods, and eight 
bannerets were carried by eight gentlemen, four on one side and four 
on the other. The chief mourner was the Lady Carew, assisted 
by Sir Peter Edgcombe ; her train was held up by one lady, 
followed by six others. 

"The corpse was received into the church by the Abbot of 
Montague (Montacute), attended by the Abbots of Torbay and 
Ford, who sprinkled it with holy water. Many others of high 
ecclesiastical rank also attended ; who, with the abbots and 100 
gentlemen, had preceded the corpse in the procession, two and 
two, according to their rank, next after the holy cross. The 
corpse was placed under a hearse covered by a rich pall of cloth of 
gold and tissue ; upon it a cross of silver, with two branches of 
virgin wax ; after which a dirge was sung, and the funeral cere- 
monies performed ; when the company returned to the castle, in 
like solemn procession, according to their rank, to partake of the 
refreshments provided, leaving attendants on the body, lying in 
state under the hearse in the chapel, who remained there the 
whole night. 

" The next day, at seven in the morning, Tuesday, the 3rd of 
December, the company being come again into the church, in 
like solemn procession, the mass of the Requiem was sung and the 
offerings performed, when Dr. Sarsley preached from the words 
; Manus Domini tetigit me ' (the hand of the Lord bath touched 
me). Before the mass of the Eequiem, the mass of Our Lady was 
sung by the Abbot of Torbay, and his assistants ; and the mass 
of the Trinity was sung by the Abbot of Ford, and his assistants. 
The Abbot of Montague acted as principal on this ocsasion, by 
whom the mass of Requiem was sung, in which he was assisted 
by the most eminent choristers from Exeter, and other places 
adjoining ; also from every part of the country round about 
Tiverton. Offerings were made on this solemn occasion by all 
persons present, in regular relation, according to their rank and 
stations, beginning with the chief mourner who offered 6s. 8d. 
The knights and gentlemen, the mayor and aldermen of Kxeter, 
the yeomen and other attendants, made their offerings in pro- 
portion. Which done, and divine service being ended, the body 


was let down into a vault under the hearse, in a chapel, on the 
east side of the north door of the church ; at which time her 
officers broke their staves. The Lord Suffragan, with all the 
other abbots and prelates in their pontificals, having performed the 
office of burial, went into the castle where they had a splendid 
entertainment. This was a second dinner which is described to 
have been very magnificent and profuse ; a provision for 500 
persons,' and a dole of 100 marks, divided to 8000 poor people, 
two-pence to each, to pray for the soul of the deceased. 

" Jn memory of which noble Princess, Henry Courtenay, Earl of 
Devon, and Marquis of Exon, her only son, caused a tomb, with 
her image thereon, to be erected on the south side of the altar, in 
the said chapel ; in which were several other tombs and statues of 
the earls of Devon, their countesses and children ; a stately altar, 
and other curious ornaments : all of which were demolished at 
different times (as supposed) by the indiscriminate zeal of the 
reformers, in the reigns of King Edward VI. and Queen 

The Courtenays used to reside at Okehampton in the summer 
and at Tiverton in the winter. About the middle of the sixteenth 
century, the Manor became broken up into a great many fractions, 
and the lordship, if we may use such a phrase, was put into com- 
mission. The first lord was Eoger Giffard, the owner of the 
Castle, which was named after him " Giffard' s Court." Blundell 
in his " Memoirs " gives this interesting notice of him : 

" The Castle of Tiverton aforesaid was afterwards purchased by 
Roger Giffard, Esq. ; who was a Gentleman of elegant Form and 
comly Presence of Person ; but of much better Accomplishments 
and Endowments of mind. Here he settled himself and Family, 
and from his Habitation therein, it came to be called Giffard's 
Court. He had successively three Wives, and all rich Widows, 
which greatly increased his Estate ; but he had no issue by the 
two former : Only by his last, E-ichord, Daughter of John Prouz, 
of Tiverton, he had Issue George, who had Issue Roger, whose 
daughter by her Marriage brought Tiverton Castle to her Husband, 
Robert Burgoin, Esq. : who had two sons Robert and William, 
who sold their Rights to the said Castle to Peter West, Esq. : 
whose Seat it now is ; a very Worthy and Loyal Gentleman, who 
has had the Honour to serve his Queen and Country in the 
Station of High-Sheriff, for the County of Dev.on." 

The present Lord of the Manor is Sir Walter Carew, of 
Haccombe. whose family have enjoyed the title since the year 
1727. Most persons, however, will be more interested in the 
fortunes of the younger branch of the Carews, who have been 
settled at Bickleigh since the sixteenth century, and whose con- 
nection with Tiverton has been far more intimate. The founder 
of the line was Thomas Carew, who was a splendid specimen of 
English manhood, and whose gallant deeds well deserve to be 


commemorated. Thomas Carew, as we learn from Prince, was 
born at Mohuns Ottery, and was the second son of Sir Edmund 
Burovv Carew and his wife Catharine, daughter of Sir William 
Huddesfeild, Kt As to the date of his birth Prince is silent, 
nor can he inform us where or when this old-world hero died. 
Pole, whom Prince copies, says, " Humfrey Courtenay, a younger 
sonne of Sir Philip, dwelled at Bickleigh and left it unto 
Elizabeth liis daughter, whom Thomas Carew 2 sonne of Sir 

Edmund Carew, did marrye. This Thomas spent his 

tymes in the warres, and over lived his wief, which had bestowed 
0:1 him all her estate, and had by her issue, a son and a 

Prince has two anecdotes about Thomas Carew, both of which 
are worthy of insertion here. " The Scots " he remarks " tak- 
ing the advantage of King Hen. Sth's absence in France, 
invaded England, against whom Thomas Earl of Surry (whom 
the King had made bis lieutenant in the north of his departure) 
raised a potent army of five and twenty thousand men ; unto 
whom, his son, the Lord Howard, Lord Admiral of England, 
having the King's navy at sea, brought a great supply of good 
Soldiers, well appointed for the war ; among whom was this Mr. 
Thomas Carew. The Earl marched his army from Newcastle, 
and pitched his boast beside a little town under Flodden Hill, a 
mountain lying in the North of Northumberland, on the borders 
of Scotland, betwixt the rivers of Till and Tweed ; on the top 
whereof K. Jam. 4, with his Scottish forces, well near an 
hundred thousand men, lay so strongly encamped, that 'twas 
impossible to come near them without great disadvantage. Hefore 
the battle began, a valorous Scottish knight made a challenge to 
any English gentleman, to fight with him for the honour of his 
country ; I suppose 'twas the same, who by Mr. Speed is called 
Andrew Barton ; unto whom he tells us the Lord Admiral sent 
word he would in person justify his action against him and abide 
to the last drop of blood in the van gard of the field. Mr. 
Carew begged the favour of the Admiral, that he might be ad- 
mitted to the honour of answering the challenge It was granted 
him ; they both met in the place appointed ; where to his high 
commendation and great endearment with the Lord Admiral 
ever after, Mr. Carew got the victory." Prince relates also the 
following story. " After the battel (of Flodden) was over my 
Lord , Admiral) taking Mr. Carew in company with him as he rode 
forth upon service, deserved a band of Scots coming towards 
them. The Admiral, at a very strait narrow passage of a bridg, 
was in danger to be entrapped and taken : to prevent which, Mr. 
Carew instantly entreated him to exchange his armour and 
martial attire with him, that by such means, if need were, he 
might make the easier escape ; to which the Admiral well con- 
sidering of soon consented to. The enemy coming on to this 


narrow passage, Mr. Carew, in his rich habit, well mounted, 
crossed the bridg with his horse ; and for a time so valiantly 
defended the same, that no man could pass ; that way gaining 
time, the numbers between them being very unequal, for the 
Lord Admiral's escape. However, Mr. Carew himself was at last 
taken prisoner." 

We have now to touch on what may be to some a less inter- 
esting subject, though for many generations it was incomparably 
more important than anything connected with the Lords of the 
Manor the woollen trade of Tiverton. It would appear that 
until the reign of Edward JII. the manufacture of wool, so far as 
England was concerned, was an unknown art That wise and 
politic monarch, in spite of the frequent wars in which he was 
engaged, well knew the value of commerce, and either at his 
invitation or at any rate with his full and free consent, John 
Kemp, a Flanders cloth-worker, settled in Kendal Green, West- 
morland. Others of same craft established themselves in Bristol, 
one of whom attained to so much celebrity that King Edward, it 
is said, gave him the name of Webb. Another centre of the 
industry was Taunton, from which the woollen manufacture may 
have been introduced into Tiverton. This, of course, is only con- 
jecture, but the reader will do well to recollect in this connection 
the remarks which we made earlier in the chapter concerning 
" Germanie." So much enthusiasm was manifested for the 
pursuit in the reign of Edward III. that it may be worth while to 
quote what Stowe in his Annals (p. 233) has told us of ifc " In 
the same Parliament," he says, " 10 Edward III. A.D. 1336 (feast 
of Epiphanie) it was enacted, that no wool growing within the 
realm of England, should be transposed out of the same, but that 
it should be made into cloth in England, and that all Fullers, 
Weavers, and Cloath workers of everie degree, being sufficiently 
instructed, and cunning in their arte, from whatever country 
soever they come into England, shall receive and enjoy certaine 
priviledges, yea and moreover should live at the kinges charges 
out of the Exchequer, until they hud provided commodiously to 
live by their art. Although this statute seemed at the beginning 
to be nothing profitable, yet in short times the art of Clothing 
increased so much thereby, that it was 20 times more used than 

Whatever, locally, may have been the beginnings of the woollen 
trade, in the early part of the sixteenth century (the period at 
which we obtain out' first glimpse of it) the manufacture had 
taken firm root in the town. The chief commodities were baize, 
plain cloth, and kerseys, and the enterprise of the merchants of 
Tiverton led them to form connexions, out, of the British Isles, in 
Spain and Ireland. In this way some of the class arrived at 
great opulence, and, in particular, the wealth of John Greenway 
appeared to the inhabitants so fabulous that they could not 



account for it in an ordinary way, but ascribed it superstitiously 
to dream and treasure-trove. Greenway is called by Blundell a 
" Spanish Merchant." He adds:" He waa of very mean 
parentage, yet by the blessing of God and a diligent hand, he 
grew vastly rich. ' His particular employment at last was buying 
wool in Ireland and transporting it into England, which returned 
him a vast increase. A considerable part thereof, if not the whole, 
he laid out in works of piety and charity." In what these works 
consisted, I shall state presently. 

The charitable bequests and public donations of Tiverton form 
so extensive a list that I cannot in the present work hope to 
describe a tithe of them. In Harding's supplementary volume we 
are treated to a discussion respecting them which occupies no less 
than two hundred and eighty pages ; and to this ample account I 
refer those of my readers who are desirous of fuller information 
than I can give. It would, however, be inexcusable were I com- 
pletely to ignore the charities, especially those which have been 
rendered visible to the eye in the form of buildings and exist as 
local features at the present day. The Town Lake and Elmore 
form a class apart both on account of their antiquity and peculiar 
characteristics. I have therefore assigned to them an inde- 
pendent notice. Possibly, however, I should have mentioned in 
conjunction with them the gift of the market tolls by Hugh 
Courtenay, second Earl, in the reign of Edward III. Like 
Elmore, this donation was lost to the inhabitants for a time, but 
was eventually restored to them. 

First, then, as to the Greenway benefaction. John Greenway 
died in 15^9, and by his will dated August 6, 21 Henry VIII., 
founded an almshouse in Gold-street, " for the habitation of five 
poor men, to have there continual abideing and habitation in the 
same, every one of them to have in the house a siverall house and 
chamber by himself, and everyone of them to have weekly every 
week in the yere and yerely and weekly for ever, eight pence of 
good and lawfull money of England, to pray dayley for me the 
said John Greenway, Johannah my wife, and for all Christian 
people." His directions were that choice should be made of 
" such persons as be impotent and aged, not able to serve and 
get their livinge, and have not wherewith to find themselves 
meat, drinke and cloths," On a vacancy arising the Church- 
wardens were charged witb the duty of selecting a candidate 
from the .inhabitants of Tiverton, or if there were none 
suitable, from the adjoining parishes : and for the support of 
the institution (ireenway bequeathed a considerable property 
in lands and tenements. At the dissolution of religious houses 
in the time of Henry VIII. the Commissioners drew up a report 
which, being a curiosity in its way, I reproduce verbatim et 
literatim : 


II s 

" The yerelye value of all the landes and possessions belong- 
ing or appertayning to the sayd Almeshouse called 
Greenway's Almeshouse, as by particular bookes thereof 
made more playnly appearythe . . . . . . xij xv 

" For the almes of the sayd v poor men in II s. d. 
redye money at viii^. apiece evrye weyke, 
yn the hole, by the yere, . . - - viij xiij iiij 

" For rente resolute yearly going owt of 
the sayd lands as well as to the Kings High- 
nes, xxiijs. id., as to the Bay lyff of the 
hundred there xijd. in all by the yere, . . xxiiij j 

" For the keeping of one obyt yerelye . . iiij 

" For ye mayntenance of a lampe in the 
Churche of Tivrton, . . . . v 

" For the rewarde of the Wardens Collec- 
tors of the sayd lands, according to ye 
tenor of ye foundation aforesaid, . . xx 

X] VI V 

And so remayn clere to be used w* owt condition expressyd, xxix v 

" The value of the ornaments, Jewells, plate, goods, and chattals 
belonging or appertaining to the sayd Almshouse, as by particulare 
inventorys thereof made at large more playnlye shall appere." 

" xlijs. over and besyds a table of alabaster and one bell 
hanging in the west ende of the Chapel of the sayd almshouse." 

After the fire of 1731 three additional buildings were erected, 
and in 1841 ten more. The year following four fresh alms-houses 
were built by the Eev. Thomas Carew as a bonus for the exchange 
of a farm belonging to the charity for an estate of equal value 
elsewhere. Lastly, in 1888, a block, containing eight rooms, was 
erected.* The object in this instance was to provide for the 
widows of almsmen, who, on the death of their husbands, were 
formerly compelled to leave with little beyond parish pay for 
their support. Under the existing arrangement they are allowed 
to remain in undisturbed possession, while the new-comers who 

* This was effected by Messrs. Ellerton and Glendinning, the then 
Churchwardens, out of the accumulated income of the Charity. The 
conduct of these gentlemen compares favourably with that of two pre- 
decessors of theirs. I have in my possession Part I. of " A Complete 
List of All the Public Charities in connexion with the Borough and 
Parish of Tiverton," published in 1857. In this chronigue scandaleuse it 
is said that Mr. John Were and Mr. Somers were in succession elected 
Wardens, and that Mr. Were frequently remarked " The Almshouses 
cannot be erected, they injure my drying'lofts." The writer adds, " heing 
a tanner and a corporator the charity was more useful to procure bark 
and hide." As for Mr. Somers, he remarked ''The houses for almsmen 
must be erected before I leave office," but his Roman virtue w^-nt no 
further than words. 


would otherwise have ousted them are quartered in the eight 
rooms already mentioned. The modern buildings are situated at 
the back of the premises and do not call for description. The 
older portion, however, must not be passed over without some 
allusion to its architecture. We may say at once that it is not, 
at least the whole of it is not, the original fabric reared by John 
Greenway. The disastrous fire of 1731 played immense havoc 
with the Almshouses, which in 1732 were almost entirely re- 
built, and a third story was then added. Except for this a 
praiseworthy attempt was made to restore the building as much 
as possible in its ancient form. Some of the doorways and the 
figures of two saints, which had been rescued from the flames, 
were again placed in the building. One statue is that of St 
Peter, holding the keys of heaven, with the motto underneath 
" O, Snt . Pt p for us " ; the other is St. Paul, At the east 
end, apparently the original wall, is the figure of St. John the 
Evangelist . 

The general style of the building is Tudor. The chapel, which 
is in a good state of preservation, is 14 feet square and 17 feet 
high ; and the entrance is protected by a porch. The cornice, 
which is divided into twelve compartments, is ornamented with 
quatrefoil, each of which contains a device consisting of Green- 
way's arms, staple mark, and cypher; excepting the two last which 
bear the Courtenay arms and an eagle on the point of rising from 
a bundle of sticks. This emblem is understood to represent the 
phcenix. Beneath is inscribed the distich, 

Have Grace, ye Men, and ever pray 
For the sowl of John & Jone Grenwaye. 

The cornice of the porch is occupied by Greenway's staple- 
mark, below which the eagle arid bundle of sticks are re- 
peated, together with the arms of England and of the Marquis of 
Exeter, who was Greenway's great patron. In the side of the 
building, under a Gothic niche is the abbreviated injunction : 
' ; P ffor John and Jone Grw " ; and under the large window of 
the chapel is the inscription : 

Reste awhile ye that may, 
Pray ye for me nyite and daye. 

Greenway's excellent example was imitated by John Waldron. 
Waldron was a merchant and born in the year 1520. Unlike 
Greenway, he seems to have been connected with a distinguished 
family the Walronds of Bradfield, near Uffculme, whose pedigree 
dates to the reign of Henry II. Be that as it may, he made a 
considerable fortune in trade, and in 1577 assigned part of his 
property to various trustees for the benefit of eight poor persons, 
who were to receive twelve pence apiece weekly. As to 


the sort of persons whom Waldron wished to be elected, he 
leaves us in no kind of doubt. He declares that if they or any 
of them commit some notorious offence or cryme, or be of dissolute 
lyfe or dishonest conversation,' they are to be removed and 
replaced by others. In accordance with his directions Waldron's 
(or Western) Almshouses were erected in Wellbrook. As 
Waldron died in 1597 and there is an inscription on the building 
dated 1597, it is clear that at least part of it was erected during 
the life-time of the founder. The elevation is in style similar to 
Greenway's Almshouses, but the building is greatly disfigured by 
a plain wooden gallery which extends over the whole of the front. 
(This was formerly the case with Greenway's Almshouses, but 
there the eye-sore has been removed). On the cornice was the 
following inscription : 

" John Waldron, merchant, and Kichord, his wife, 

Builded this house in the tyme of their life, 

At such tyme as the walls were fourtyne foote hye 

He departed this world even the eyghtynth of July, (1597), 

Since youth and life doth passe awaye 
And death at hand to end our dayes ; 
Let us do so, that men may saye 
We spent our goods God to preys." 

On the east wall is a wool-pack, having on it Waldron's staple- 
mark and a ship, and underneath is inscribed " Remember the 
poor." Over the four doorways in the lower floor may be read, 
divided into four parts, this inscription : " Depart thy goods 
whyl thou hast time, after thy deathe they are not thyne. 
God sav Queen Elizabeth.' : On the side of the steps is a 
quatrefoil containing in a shield Waldron's staple-mark and the 
words " Eemember the poor." As regards size and appearance, 
the chapel is not very different from that in Gold-street. The 
cornice is composed of twelve parts, each of which bears Waldron's 
staple-mark or cypher, and beneath it is carved : 

He that uppon the poore doth spende 
The goods that he hath heare. 
To God agen the same doth send, 
And paye the same with great increase." 

In front of the porch are the arms of Queen Elizabeth, with the 
letters E.R. ; and over the entrance-door of the Chapel are the 
founder's arms. 

There is a third alms-house in St. Peter-street founded in .1610 
by George Slee " for the maintenance of six poor aged widdowes 
or maidens, of the Town or parish of Tyverton." The building 
is not known to possess any architectural beauty, but whatever 
charms it has are effectually concealed by an ugly, if convenient, 
wooden gallery. 

Before the Eeformation Tiverton, considering its population, 



was certainly not badly off for places of worship. Apart from 
the Parish Church and its chantries there were no less than four 
chapels in the town : that of St. Thomas in Fore-street, on the 
site of the Town Hall ; that of St. Andrew on the site of the 
former prison ; that of St. Peter, where the Independent Chapel 
now stands; and that of St. Mary on Exe-bridge. And within a 
short distance of the town were fourteen other chapels and 
oratories. Most, if not all of these, have long since disappeared, 
or, at any rate, have been converted to different use. With 
respect to St. Mary's Chapel we hear of its existence through an 
ancient deed executed in 1518 by David ap Thomas alias David 
Phelip, by which he left certain property to be expended in 
support of the lights and ornaments of the Parish Church and 
of the chapel of St. Mary, on Tiverton Bridge, over the river 
Exe, and especially for the support and maintenance of the said 
bridge, that amongst its benefactors his soul might ever be re- 
membered in the bead roll of the said church and chapel. The 
subject of bridge-chapels is interesting. Other cases of the kind 
are those of London Bridge, Case Bridge, York, Salford, Bedford, 
Derby, Eotherham, Wakefield, and the great bridge of Swarkes- 
ton. Any one wishing for further particulars respecting them 
should consult Mr. Andrew's Old Church Lore. 

We have not yet done with John Greenway. He not only 
founded an almshouse, but a chapel and porch at St. Peter's, as 
well as a considerable part of the south wall. Over the porch 
was formerly a sun-dial with the following mottoes : "Every hour 
shortens life." "Nesciunt reverti pereunt et imputantur." There 
also are carved the arms of Courtenay, quartering those of De 
Kedvers, impaling the arms of Catherine, Countess of Devon, 
youngest daughter of Edward IV. and surmounted by an eagle 
perched on a bale of sticks. The supporters are : dexter, a man in 
armour, having at his feet what would seem to be intended as a 
dragon ; sinister, a female figure. Harding, from whom most of 
these heraldic details are borrowed, observes that he is unable to 
draw any conclusion as to the meaning of them. At the risk of 
appearing rash, I cannot help avowing my belief that they were 
designed to represent John and Joan Greenway. The motto is 
" In tyme and space, god send Grace John Greenway to prforme 
yt yr hate be gone." The frieze over the porch has six compart- 
ments. Each is separated from the other by a figure, and in 
every compartment is carved some Scripture subject. One seems 
to be the conversion of St. Paul, another Christ rebuking the 
winds. The whole of the front is embattled, while on the corbel 
line is a series of miniature carvings representing the life of Our 
Saviour. They occur in the following order : Flight into Egypt ; 
Christ in the Temple among the Doctors ; Baptism of St. John in 
the .River Jordan ; Our Saviour's Commission to his Disciples ; 
The Washing of Our Saviour's Feet by St. Mary Magdalen ; 


Palm Sunday ; The Washing of the Disciples' Feet ; The Betrayal 
of Judas Iscariot ; Our Saviour in the Judgment Hall ; The 
Buffeting ; The Clothing of Our Saviour in Mockery ; The 
Crowning with Thorns ; Judas carrying away the Thirty Pieces of 
Silver ; The Man of Cyrene bearing the Cross ; The Crucifixion ; 
The Descent from the Cross ; The Entombment ; The 
Deliverance of the Souls in Purgatory ; The .Resurrection ; The 
Ascension. Throughout the front the mouldings are adorned 
with trade-emblems, interspersed with Greenway's arms, those of 
the merchant adventurers and drapers, staple-marks, cyphers, 
bales of wool, and galleys. At the east end of the chapel, slightly 
raised from the ground and shut in by iron rails are the arms and 
devices of Greenway and the Draper's Company. Over them is 
the motto " Whilst we think well and think t' amend, time 
passeth away and death's the end.'' 

John Greenway 
founded this Chapel A.D. m d x v i i . 

Died A.D. mdxxix.* 
At the corner of the chapel are inscribed these mottoes : 

" God sped J.G." 
" Of your charitie pray for the Souls of John Grenway and his 


" O Lord allway grant to John Grenway good fotue and grace, and 
In heaven a place." 

So far the exterior. We now turn to the interior, from which 
the sacrilegious hand of the restorer has removed nearly all the 
interesting features. The epoch when this vandalism was perpe- 
trated was the year 1830, and Greenway's trustees, who were the 
authors of the mischief, were so insensible to their guilt that 
they put up their names in a niche. This must be regarded as 
small compensation for the treasures which the Chapel had con- 
tained. It is possible of course that the place was so dilapidated 
as to call for this interference, bufc as other old relics in the 
body of the church have similarly vanished, such a charitable 
construction would probably be undeserved. And now, as old 
writers used to say, " to work." Originally the chantry was 
separated from the south aisle by a Gothic screen, on the top of 
which were iron spikes indicating, it has been supposed, the 
position of statuettes. It was full of curious carvings and, like 
the chapel, was richly gilt. Round the wainscoting is some 
handsome Gothic tracery, in the parcels of which there were 
formerly paintings, while on the wall was the following inscription: 

" To the honour of St. Christopher, St. Blaze and St. Anne, 
This chapel by John Grenwaye was began." 

* This inscription is evidently modern. 


The pictures may have been coeval with the chapel itself. Such 
a mode of decorating churches was by no means uncommon in the 
Middle Ages, and specimens of the art still exist. In 1883 a 
List of Buildings having Mural Decorations was published by the 
Science and Art Department, and in the introduction to this the 
entire subject is discussed.* On the floor is a large stone which 
covers G-reenway's vault. "This stone" remarks Dunsford "was 
ornamented with curious sculpture of animals, flowers, &c., and 
on the edges of it were fillets of brass, on which were engraved, 
in old characters, the following : ' Of your charite prey for 
the souls of Jone and Joan Grenwaye, his wife, which died 

and for their faders and moders, and for their friends 

and their lovers ; on them Jesu have mercy : amen. Of your 
charite say Pater-noster and Ave.'" The same stone bears 
brasses representing the founder and his wife in the costume of 
the period. Their hands are lifted in prayer and from their lips 
issued the words inscribed on brass labels which have long since 
been torn away : " O then to thee we praye, have mercy of John 
Grenwaye." And " O then to thee we praye have mercy of Join 
Grenwaye." There are marks showing that the chapel once 
contained another brass with an inscription, but to whom this 
referred we cannot say. At each corner were shields of brass, 
but the only one which remains is that bearing the Merchant 
Adventurers Arms with the words " Pray for John Grenwaye." 
Over the south entrance of the church is a carved representation 
of the Assumption or God blessing the Virgin Mary. Under the 
feet of the latter is a crescent or half-moon which is emblematical 
of the Virgin ; and on either side are the figures of John and Joan 
Greenway. Until the year 1820, or thereabouts, Greenway's 
Almsmen, as it was right and fitting for them, occupied 
places in his chapel. 

This work is not intended exactly as a guide-book, but as I 
have entered with some detail into the subject of the chantry, 
it would hardly be consistent if I were to conclude the chapter 
without some passing allusions to the church proper. Con- 
cerning this something has been already said in an earlier page, 
where, however, I touched only on the fabric. I have now 
to add a few particulars respecting the interior. Each of the 
four portions seems to have had a separate altar, and a stone 
slab which is now in the church may have formed part of one. 
The chancel was separated from the nave by a rich Gothic 
screen which Blundell says was the gift of John Greenway. 
At the west-end of the Church was a seat appropriated to the use 
of excommunicated persons. These are all the facts which I can 

* " There were also " says Dunsford, " some good drawings by Warwell 
in the year 1749, particularly a portrait of St. Peter, of natural size and 
well-executed, besides some Scripture sentences." 


discover with regard to the furniture of the church in mediaeval 
times. Jn a later chapter I shall refer to the organ and the 
aspect of the church generally after the Eestoration. 

In discussing pre-Reformation affairs I cannot omit to allude 
to the interesting subject of ' obits ' or prayers for the dead. 
The reader, I think, will be grateful for the following excerpt 
from the last will and testament of William Selake, dated 
10 August 1524. He requires of his trustees that they " doo 
cause in all godely hast an honest Chapelyn to be conductid and 
hired to synge and pray dailly in his masse to be said and songe 
att pytte awter in the pisshe (Jhurch of Seynt Peter att Tyvton 
f orsaid .... and if my said f effeis and their heires herafter can 
fynde the menys, that a dayly masse of our blessed lady may be 
said and songe by note in the said Churche at a certyn howre 
w 1 the pristes and clerks of the said Churche for the tyme beyng 
and w 1 the orgones, to the honor of God, our blessed lady, and 
Seynt Peter, patron of the said Churche, and to pray for the 
helth of my saule, my fader, my moder, my wife, our childryn, 
and all christyn saules, for the sum of ten pounds sterling." 

Whit Sunday, 1549, is a memorable day in the annals of the 
Church of England, being the date fixed by an act of Edward 
VI. for introducing the Book of Common Prayer. This edict 
produced a great commotion in Devonshire, where the adherents 
of the Pope were unusually strong. It led indeed to actual 
insurrection. Exeter was besieged by the rebels who were only 
with difficulty suppressed. Tiverton also was the scene of con- 
flict. It seems that a dispute arose over the christening of a 
child at Sampford Peverell. The old men were in favour of the 
ancient rite, while the young men declared for the Protestant 
ceremony. Matters grew so warm that a battle royal was fought 
on Shrinkhills, and " the king's army taking several of them 
prisoners, many were hanged and quartered." 

The reign of Queen Elizabeth is notable, from a local point 
of view, for a remarkable increase in the population of the 
town. Whereas from 1560 to 1566 the inhabitants were about 
2,500, at the beginning of 1591 the number has risen to 5,000 
or double what it had been thirty years before. This, we can 
hardly doubt, implies a corresponding advance in the prosperity 
of the place. 

The last event to which I shall allude, before bringing this 
abnormally long chapter to a close, is the visitation of the plague 
in 1591. It is said to have been introduced by a pedlar bearing 
the appropriate name of Walker. At the end of the parish 
register (book I.) we find written " Note, dyed in the Plague 
1591 about 500 people, page 145," and on the page in question 
the burials are headed " I'hese same dyed of the Pestilence." To 
escape the disease hundreds fled the town, and as an old MS. has 
it " the grass grewe in the streetes and lanes." 




^IVEBTON has experienced the misfortune on three 
separate occasions of being almost entirely burnt down. 
As two of these conflagrations occurred soon after the 
period of which 1 have just been treating, I propose to deal 
with them collectively here. Possibly it will add to the interest 
if, instead of giving a modern version of these tragic and 
calamitous events, I transcribe some contemporary pamphlets of 
which copies have been preserved, and in which the circumstances 
are described with a wealth of language arid a vivacity of feeling 
which 1 should in vain seek to imitate. The date of the first 
great fire is 1598, that of the second 1612, while the third took 
place very much later, in 1731. Here, then, is a record of the 
first fire. 

Cjje true lamentable bicoure of tlje burning of 

euerton in 2Deuon-$ure 

tfje tl)irb bap of 3Upril lat pagt about 

tf)e fjouer of one of tfje Cloche 

in tje 2Ufter-noone, being 

<H9arfcet bap, 1598 

At what time there was consumed to Ashes about the Number 

of 400 houses, with all the Money and goods that was 

therein ; and Fyftie persons burnt aliue through 

the vehemencie of the same Fyer. 


lamentable ole of eucrton 

Tt is not unknowne to many and chiefly English Marchants 
that the Towne of Teuerton in Deuon-Shire, about ten Myles on 
this side Exceter, was the chief e Market for Cloth, that is in all 
the West parts of England ; pleasantlye situate upon the cleere 
running Uyuer of Exe, garnished with manye costlye and goodlye 
buildinges, inhabited with diuers rich and wealthy Marchants ; 
and so well peopled, as no other Towne (of the same bignesse) in 
all those quarters, could compare therewith : And by reaso of y e 
Market kept therein every Monday for Cloth and other com- 
modities, it was greatly frequented of the Countrey people neere 
adjoyning, especially of Clothiers and such other persons as had 
any dealinges therein : where they were sure of sale, and to have 
present Money for their commodities were it neuer so much, 
where alwayes before dinner, they had their Coyne truely payde, 
which was no small benefit to all the poore Men of the West 
partes, as Weauers and Tuckers and such like : But such is the 
mutabilitie of fortune and the uncertaintie of our Mortall state : 
that no man can make assurance of that hee hathe nor warrant his 
owne welfare one minute of an hower, as by this following 
example, and many other like is manifest : For we may bee well 
assured, that the Third daye of Aprill last, when the rich Inhabi- 
tants of Teuerton rose in the Morning : Nay, when they were in 
the Market at Noone they little thought that before night their 
wealth should have been turned into such want : but now behold 
a thing more wonderfull : he which at one a clocke was worth Fiue 
Thousand Pound, & as the Prophet saithe, * drunke his Wine in 
bowles of fine Siluer plate, had not by two a Clocke so much as a 
woodden dish left to eate his Meate in, nor a house to couer his 
sorrowfull head, neytherdid thys happen to one man alone, but 
to many other, being neyther in danger of the crueltie of warrs, 
nor on the seas, where they might feare the furie of waters. 

But when they thought themselves secure, and farre from any 
imynent perill, in prime of the bright daye, not when their Towne 
was emptie, but when their streets swarmed with store of people, 
not when they were asleepe or naked in their beds, when they 
could not shift for themselves : but when they were awake, 
apparelled and fit for any businesse ; Lothen (I say) sodenly, as it 
were in a twinkling of an eye, came that great griefe upporithem, 
which turn'd their wealth to miserable want, & their riches to 
unlookt-for-pouertie : and how was that ? Mary Sir by Fyer. 

But no fier from Heaven, no unquenchable fier, such as 
worthily fell on the sinfull Citie of Sodome and Gomorra : but a 

* The author alludes to the Prophet Amos, vi. 6. "(Men) that 
drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments ; 
but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph." 


sillie flash of fier, blazing forth of a frying pan, the circumstance 
whereof I will briefly shew you. 

The fier first began at the West end of the Towne, on the 
fardest side of the sayde faire Riuer, about one a clocke in the 
after noone : in the very prime, and chiefe of the Market when 
people were most busiest in the sale of their commodities. For 
there was dwelling in a little lowe thatcht house a poore beggarly 
woman, who hadde got a companion fit for her purpose, I meane 
another woman of the like condicion. And they together went 
to bake pan-cakes with strawe : for their abillitie and prouission 
was so good, that there was no wood in the house to doe it. And 
as they were busie about their cookerie sodenly the fier got into 
the Pan, which also caught present hould on the strawe lying hard 
by, by meanes whereof the house being very low, was by the high 
blaze of the strawe fiered in the verye roofe, which by the force 
of an extreame high wind which blew strongly in y e West, 
kindled with such vehemencie that there was no help for the 
same, the fier wherof tooke hould of a certaine hay-house neere 
adjoyning, and from thence it paste to the Towne milles. The 
winde blowing still fiercely did driue the fier into the Towne, & 
by this meanes in less then halfe an bower the whole Towne was 
set on fier, and after burnt : except the Church and Court-house, 
which sometime belonged to the Earle of Deuonshire. 

But marke w'hat followed : men would have thought, that upon 
a Market day, when euery street was so well replenisht with 
people, from all parts, there had been help enough quickly to 
have quencht the flame thereof, hauing also the commoditie of a 
ryuer neere adjoyning : But it came not so to passe : for they 
had neyther hookes nor buckets fit for such service, which all 
other wise and discreete Citizens doe politicquely prouide against 
such casualties, which might haue been a meanes of their preser- 

Notwithstanding, it is sayd that the chiefe of the towne had 
often been in hand, to make such prouision ; but never brought 
it to effect, for howboeuer it was well motioned, it was ill remem- 
bred, the want whereof they now felt to their great sorrow and 
cost : for whether it were couetousnesse, or negligence, or both 
which in these dayes is the cause of great euil, it is certaine they 
were destitute of such engines, the misse whereof when they 
found, then all too late they bewailed their approued follie : 
which was undoubtedly God's iust Judgement for their iniquities : 
by the which let all other Townes take example. 

Whereby we may gather, it is not in Man's power to preuent 
with strength of hand, the least plague which y e Lord doth 
purpose to bring on any place. For you shall understand that 
all that day the wind being at West-South-west & blowing 
extreame hard, the power thereof was so great, high, and vehement, 
that it inforest the kindled flame to rise most fiercely, beating 



the same toward the Towne in most outragious sort ; so that by 
the time the people with all expedition hadd gathered unto that 
place to quench the furie thereof, beholde ere they wist the fier 
had taken hould in the Principall place of the Towne, and by 
that time they came backe againe and got thither they perceaued 
other houses to burne in like manner : so that while manye were 
busie in helping their neighbours, their owne houses was in as ill 
a case. 

Then began the crie to growe most grieuous in euery part of the 
Towne, the mighty winde still increasing the furie of the inraged 
fier : here stood, one man crying for helpe, there another, another, 
and another : wringing their hands and making great la men- 
tation ; more and more the number increased, insomuch that the 
people were so amazed, they knew not which way to turne, nor 
where the most neede was. 

The fier increased so fast, grew so vehement, and spread so far, 
that at least there was about 400 houses on fier at once, so that 
euery man was glad to shift for himself e, and so nere as he could, 
to saue his owne life, but all in vaine, for he which euen now 
rested in hope, his house should escape the daunger, in the turning 
of a hand, had all on fier about his eares, the winde beating the 
flambe in their faces : all which came still so sodenly, that there 
was no remedy to be had for the same. 

Most dreadfull was the noyse which was then heard in euery 
corner and streete of the Towne, women piteously screeking, 
maydens bitterly crying, and children roaring out of measure, the 
mother running to saue her children, the husband for the wife, 
neighbor, calling for neighbor, friend, for friend, while they were 
beaten out of the towne with raging flames of fier. For so ex- 
treame, and outragious did the fier passe from house to house, 
there was no looking to saue their goods : no way to preserve 
them from destruction, for all the Cloth in the market, wares in 
their shops, goods and houshold stuffe, money, plate, apparell, 
and bedding, yea all was burnt and nothing sav'd and which is 
more to bee lamented, diuers townsmen did hazard themselves so 
farr within the daunger of the fier, to saue some part of their 
goodes, that they neuer returned backe againe, but were there 
most pitiously burned to death, and consumed to ashes : Diuers of 
them being of the best men of the Towne : Many children and 
other feeble persons was burnt in the houses, yea horses and 
other Cattell in stables and backe places, with all their corne and 

Among the rest there was an old blinde man burnte, named 
Nicholas Hartnell, whom his friendes hadd brought foorth of his 
bed, & layde him for his better saftie in the Market house, but 
while they were making shift for themselves in some other sort 
before they could returne againe, the poore man was by fier 
turned into ashes. 


There was in like manner one Land and his Wife which were 
founde lying in the streete arme in arme, burnt to death, hut not 
quite consumed : At what time there was founde lying between 
them fiue Pound in Gold with the which as it seemed they sought 
to flie away : But being smothered by the smoke and fiers flame, 
they hadde their passage wofullye stayed : there was found the 
sculles and bones of many more. 

Likewise one Beeres wife a woman of good reputation, was 
burnt in y e street : And also one widow Prouse before she could 
get out of her owne doores suffred the like tormenting death. 

Then well apayd was that Man that had y e benefit to keepe 
himselfe and his familie from danger : so that for the hast they 
made to get away into the fieldes, they ouerthrewe and tumbled 
downe one another in their passage forth. 

The Tyles by the heate of the fier, flew cracking from the 
houses, like as it had been a company of wel-charged Muskets 
rattling against some sconce : * And againe to heare the houses 
cracke and the burned tymber fall down with might and maine, 
made the verye hearts of the people to shake for feare. When in 
shorte space after, they sawe whole houses tumbling to the 
grounde, after they had awhile stood tottering too and fro with 
the mighty blastes of the South- West winde. 

At what time it was hard to say, whether their sorrow or feare 
was greatest, when they behelde their goodes burnt to ashes and 
hearde the thundering noyse of the falling houses, which caused 
y e firme earth to quake and tremble under theyr feet. 

Truely whosoever doth enter into consideration hereof, must 
needes acknowledge, their case to be most lamentable, and their 
sorrow unspeakable, during the time of this terrible fier ; the 
rage whereof lasted not aboue one hower and a halfe, and yet in 
that small space, had it burnt to ashes, (as I sayd before) above 
the number of Foure Hundred houses : most of them belonging 
to the wealthiest Men in the Towne, with all the goods that 
were in them, so that althesustantiall townsmen were constrained 
to lye in the fieldes with their wofull wiues & children, and to 
lodge themselves on the cold ground, that in the morning had 
choyce of beds to goe unto : such was their sodaine wracke, and 
hard fortune. 

* Sconce means a fort or bulwark. 

" Such fellows are perfect in the great commanders' names, and they 
will learn you by rote where services were done ; at such & such a sconce 
at such and such a breach " Shakespeare, Henry V. 

" Sconce call you it ? So you would leave battering, I had rather have 
it a head : an you use these blows long, I must get a sconce for my head 
and ensconce it too ; or else I shall seek my wit in my shoulders." 
Comedy of Errors, Act II., Sc : 2. The word is often, found in Shakes- 


Therefore it is a vaine thing to trust in the uncertaintie of 
worldly e riches, which being gotten with travell, and kept with 
care, is notwithstanding sone lost, being in hazard of a Thousand 
dangers : And therefore most happy and blessed are they, which 
according to the counsaile of the holy Ghost, doe lay up their 
treasure in Heauen, where it can perish by no perrill, that can 
happen, but doth euer remayne safe in the sure keeping of the 
Lord God of hoastes. 

Before the fier was fully ended, and diligent search made, there 
was founde lacking as it is verye credibly reported an Hundred 
persons or there-about, of the whicn number (as 1 haue alredy 
mentioned) diuers were found dead in ye streets, shoppes and 
houses, I meane in the place where shoppes, and houses late be- 
fore stoode. 

The residue of the wofull people remaining yet aliue being 
ouerburdened with extreame sorrow, runs up and downe the 
fieldes like distraught and f rantick men, being driuen (as before is 
mentioned) to shroud themselves under trees and hedges, lying 
on the bare grounde : Moreouer they are so greatlye distrest for 
lacke of food, that they seeme to each mannes sighte more liker 
spirits and Ghostes, then liuing creatures : Likewise it is by wise 
men verilye thought that the losses of thys Towne, wil not be 
recouered againe, vnder Three or Four hundred Thousand 

But you shall understande, that notwithstanding all the force 
of this consuming fier, there is yet some Twenty houses pre- 
serued, the dwellings of poore and sillie men : And certaine almes 
houses, which is a most rare and strange thing : For as divers 
Marchants of this Citie is creadibly certified by letters that the 
fier inuiornd those sillie Cottages on euery side, burning other 
houses to the grounde which stood about them, and yet had they 
no hurt at all.* 

Surely if wee shoulde enter into consideration hereof, we coulde 
not chuse but confess, that this was the onely worke of God, to 
make his power manifest to men, as hee did in delyuering the 
Three Children out of the fierie furnace, euen so did he to pre- 
serue those poore persons with their houses and goodes, for some 
speciall cause best known to himselfe, according to that holy 
canticle sung by the blessed Virgin Marie : he hath filled the 
hungry with good things, but the rich he sent emptie away. 

It is said of some y* this was a punishment of God brought 
upon that Towne, for their unmercifulnesse, and small regard of 
the poore, which were dayly seene to dye and perish in their 

* Dunsford saw in 1790 on the boards of a ruinous house in Blmore 
the date 1587. The houses in Elmore (one of the worst parts of the 
town) appear to have escaped all the great fires. 


streets for lacke of relief e : * poore Lazarus laye unregarded at the 
rich mans gate, and could not get one little morsell of meate to 
cherish his hungry heart : therefore (if it were so) y* was the 
iust Judgment of God, that they which through couetousness 
would not part from any thinge, should sodenly lose all : For 
there was not so much as one peece of Timber left, of all those 
Foure hundred houses, but all were consumed to ashes, except 
some few chimneys, and stone walles whych are monuments of 
the Towne's ruine. 

Whereby it is come to passe, that those rich Marchantes, that 
earst scornd to grace a poore mans house with his presence, is 
nowe glade to requeste his fauour for the worst cornere in their 
cottage, where they may remaine in this their misery ; which may 
bee a good warning for all other men of the like abilitie, how they 
contemne and dispise the poor members of Christ houlding them 
in disdaine, whom God hat'h opprest with pouertie. 

t O famous London, thou that flowest in wealth, and abound- 
est in Eiches : Thou which art the chiefe Lady-cittie of this 
Land, whose fame soundeth through al Christian Kingdoms, cast 
thy deere eyes on this ruinous Towne ; consider her fall, and pitie 
her distresse, learne by her calamitie to loke into thyselfe, examine 
thy conscience and see whether thou hast deserued the like 
plague or no : giue thou example of true contricion, and as thou 
art chiefe in glorie, bee thou chiefe in grace, that God may long 
and many yeares uphould thy prosperous estate. 

Yea let all the goodly Cities and Townes, which beautifies the 
westerne plat of this florishing Hand, looke upon their wofull 
Sister Teuerton, who lately did braue it wyth the best, and thought 
her selfe nothing inferior to the fayrest : But now she sittes clad 
in mournfull weedes, having her faire heade couered with pale 
ashes, her bravery converted to beggerie, her glory to disgrace, 
and all her mirth into moane : So that there is nothing seen but 
lamentation and complainte. Oh Teuerton, well may thy friends 
crie ouer thee (as sometime J great kinges did over Babilon) 
saying, alas alas for that proper Town of Teuerton, that wealthie 
and rich Towne, for at one bower is thy judgment come : thy 
Marchants may now weep and morne for no man buyeth ware in 
thee anye more. 

Consider this thou faire citie of Exceter, thou which art next 
neighbor to this distressed Town, which has (as it were) the 

* Wyott in his Diary (Book 1 p. 23.) corroborates this ; he says " The 
report goeth, that the rich Men of the Towne were unmerciful to the 
poor and suffered them to die in the streets for want, and it might be 
digitus Dei." 

t This apostrophe to London is quite prophetic of " the like plague " 
which befel her on the 2nd of Sept. 1666. 

t Kevelationsxviii., 10, 11. 


smoke of her fier, yet before thy face, and her lamentations 
rynging lowde in thy eares ; pitie her heauie happe, that knowes 
not what miserie hanges ouer thy owne head. 

And let me speake to thee, thou Towne of Plymouth, whose 
stately buildinges ouer-peareth the hilles, casting their prospects 
upon the mounting waues : take warning by Teuerton and turne 
thy many vices into vertues, least God turn from thee his great 
and mighty blessinges. 

Sinne is the cause of many sorrowes : and ungodliness y e 
ground-worke of all intolerable griefe : yet if wee shoulde thinke 
that the people of Teuerton were the greatest transgressors, 
because they have suffered the greatest punishment, of the towne 
in the West : we shoulde think much amisse : For as our Sauviour 
Christ said unto the Jewes, suppose not that those on whom the 
Tower of Silo fele, were greater Sinners then the rest, but except 
you repent you shall likewise perish. So say I to you and all 
other Citties and Townes in England, thinke not that the 
Inhabitants of Teuerton did surpasse all other in wickednesse, 
because they exceede all other in woe : but it hath pleased God 
to punish them for your instruction, that behoulding their fall you 
may feare' to offende, and learne by theire miserie, your owne 
speedy amendment. For what is he which passeth by this 
Towne, and earst knew the florishing state thereof, seeing now her 
lamentable spoile : but many bee prouoked to crie with Jeremie, 
and saye of Teuerton, as hee * spoke of Jerusalem : Alasse, how 
desolate sitteth this towne, that sometime was full of people : how 
is shee become lyke a widowe sorrowful, heauie, and comfortlesse, 
which lately was had in good regard, and famous among all her 
families, she weepeth sore in the night, and her teares run downe 
her cheeks in great abundance. 

But it is easie for all men to say this : to shake their heades 
and crie alack alack : But a hard matter to make benefit thereof, 
and to be warned by their neighbor's harmes : Notwithstanding 
let ah 1 distressed people know, that whosoeuer faithfully trusteth 
in Grod, shall neuer be forsaken : well may they sustaine sorrow, 
but they shall not be left in miserie. 
The Lord that brought them low, can rayse them againe aloft, as 

it is manifest by Jobes affliction. Therefore God graunt wee 

may take patiently those Fatherly corrections which He 

layeth upon us : knowing that all the miseries of 

this life, is not worthy of the least ioye, which 

is prepared in Heauen for the sonnes of 

men : Unto the which place Christ 

Jesus bring us, that by his blood 

so deerely bought us. 


* Lamentations i., 1, 2. 



The Tiverton register thus records the occurrence : 

" These p(er)sons whose names heer following, were burned w th 

the fire iij day of Aprill A dm 1598 in the fourtieth yeare of our 

most gratious Queen Elizabeth's Ma ties raigne." 

Thomas Lande thelder 
Jone the wife of Thom a s Land 
Nicolas Hartnoll thelder 
Mrs. Prowse, widdow 
Mary,the wief of Martyne Beere 
Mary, the wief of Jn Ellis 
Jone, the daught r of Jn 

Katharin, the daught r of Jn 


Katherin Weaver, widdow 
Christopher, suant to Wm. 

Richard Dyer, suant to the 

widdow Glover 
Mary Morrel, suant to Nicolas 

Christopher,the sonn of Edward 

Jone, the wief of Edward 

Thomas, the sonn of the widdow 

Elizabeth, the daught 1 ' of 

Francis Perkine 
William, the sonn of Jn Ellis 

Elinor, the daught 1 ' of Georg 


Eaffe Frost, laborer 
Jone, the wief of Raffe Frost 
Ellen, the wief of Vincent 

King well 
The old Alee, suant to the 

widdow Boubeer 
Thomas, the sonn of James 

Hugh, the sonn of James 

Elizabeth, the daught r of Jn 

Thomas, the sonn of Phillip 


Alee, suant to Eobert Farmer 
Jone, the daught r of Wm. 

Thomas, the sonn of the widdow 

Jone, the daught 1 ' of Elizabeth 

Hugh, the sonn of the widdow 

Tamsyn, the daught r of George 


Jone, the daught 1 ' of William 

Their remains were collected and buried in the Church-yard 
in one grave. 

From Strype's Life of Whitgift Archbishop of Canterbury we 
glean further particulars respecting this dire event. He tells us 
that 400 houses were destroyed, that goods were lost to the value 
of 150,000, that 900 householders were ruined, and that 50 
" Christians " perished in the fire. The calamity excited universal 
horror and great efforts were made to relieve the sufferers. To 
this merciful object the Queen contributed 5,000, while the 
Archbishop addressed a circular letter to the Bishops and Clergy 
bespeaking their liberality on behalf of the unfortunate people of 
Tiverton. The judges on circuit also exerted their powerful 
influence to procure help. The result must have been a hearty 
and generous response, for in a few years the effects of the 
disaster had been completely wiped out, and Tiverton was again 
prosperous. Something, however, of this must be set down to 



the energy yf her inhabitants, to her natural advantages (the two 
rivers supplying the motive power for driving the loomsX and to 
her previous wide reputation. Like Penelope's web, all this work 
of repair was soon entirely undone. In 1612 another terrible 
fire occurred, of which the reader shall acquaint himself with the 
details from the following tract : 


From the West-parts of England, 

Jibing % farainfaib Jiurmtttj xtf Jlp Uottm^ nf 

Vpon the fift of August last, 1612, 

Whereunto is annexed, the former burning of the aforesaid Towne, 
ilie third of April, 1598. 



famintalrle Itvtninq 
*CD iJ 



MN GLAND (I am sure) (with grief e I speak it) hath not yet 
forgotten, the fore-passed lamentable spoyle of the towne 
of Teuerton by fire, in the yeere of our Lord 1598. The 
Inhabitants whereof being scarse recovered of their losses then 
received, and the towne builded up againe to her former Estate, 
when a second sorrow, exceeding the first, hath now hapned 
through the fury} of that mercilesse Element, that consuming 
seruant of the world, the subiect of man, Fire. I meane, which 
being kept under, without getting too rigorous a head, proues 
obedient to all our needful vses, (without which we could not 
Hue) but obtaining the vpperhand, growes rebellious, and ruinates 
where it comes, as lately the tyranny thereof was shewed upon 
the now twice consumed towne of Teuerton, being the chiefe 
market in Deuon-shire for cloath, and meeting of Merchants. 

This Towne standeth some tenne miles from the Citie of 
Exeter, pleasantly situate upon the cleare running Riuer of Kxe," 
garnished with many costly and beautif ull buildings, as houses of 
Merchants and wealthy Citizens: peopled with diuers sorts of 
Trades-men and Artificers, and furnished with such rich valewed 
commodities, as it rather seemed a Citie of Traffiquethen a Towne 
of ordinary Market. To say truth, no other Towne of the same 
bignesse, in all the Westerne parts might compare therewith : all 
which wealth statelinesse and beautie, had this goodly Daughter 
of England, decked her selfe with, since the afore-said subuersion, 
and now carelesse of the like mischance, God in his anger, hath 
visited her againe, and with his bright-burning instrument of 
wrath, conuerted and changing her brauest buildings to heapes of 
smoaking Ashes. This is the uncertaintie of our mortall Estate : 
Fortune (we see) is mutable, and no man is sure of one dayes 

But now to our wofull discourse : and thus in ill time it hapned. 
CJponthe fift day of August last, 1612, being the day appointed 
by the Kings Maiestie, to be kept holy, and spent in Prayer and 
other godly exercises, as in praysing the Guider of all things, for 
his Highnesse most happy preseruation, from Gowrie's Con- 


spiracie : this being a day of Recreation for Seruants, a resting 
time for young men from labour, and an afternoone of merry and 
honest meetings, which caused the young people of the Towne to 
flock together, challenging that day as their owne, with hopes of 
well-speeding pleasure, little fearing the lamentable and sodaine 
accident that followed. 

For, there dwelt in the aforesaid Towne of Teuerton neare unto 
a Bridge, called Exebridge, a certaine Dyer or Colour-maker, who 
(notwithstanding the celebration of the Holy-day) kept his 
Fornace going for the dying of Cloathes, and left the charge thereof 
unluckely to a Boy : which boy hauing more minde on play, then 
care of his Masters businesse, made more haste then good speede 
and purposing to be the sooner amongst his companions, hastned 
his fires exceedingly, and at one time put under his Fornace, too 
great a number of Furres, or Bauens, the quicklier to make it 
boyle : * but this post-haste had haplesse euent, and made too 
violent a flame, more then the Forriace could containe, an un- 
quenchable flame, a flame of confusion, a flame of subuerson, a 
spoyling flame, and an undooer of many hundreds of good people : 
for first, being past the recouerie of the carelesse or rather grace- 
less Boy, it sodainly tooke hold of the Dyers house, couered and 
thatched with straw, too much dryed by reason of this parching 
Summer, that it, as it were, euen yeelded itselfe as a fit and apt 
nourishment for the strengthening the quicke deuouring rage of 
this most tyranous Element. 

Thus the fire being increased, all with sparkling blazes ceazed 
upon the next house, then upon another, after that upon a fourth, 
and so upon many, to the great fright and amazement of all the 
inhabitants, consuming more and more beyond the help of man, 
such was the rigour and raging fiercenesse of this bright-burning 
and most terrible fire. 

This hapned not in the night season, whilest men slept, nor 
when they were absent from their houses,f but in the very day 
time, when their streetes swarmed with people, when their youths 
were sporting, euen in the af ter-noone at foure of the clocke, and 
that in a moment, as it were in the twinckling of an eye, came 
this heauie griefe upon them, which turned their wealth into 
miserable want, their riches into unlookt for pouertie, and their 
mirth into sodaine sorrow. 

* Blundell, in his Memoirs p. 12. gives the following account of the 
origin of this fire. " As Patey's servant was dying of wool a Boy coming 
into the dye-house sat two dogs a fighting, which the servant minding, 
and carelessly neglecting the furnace, the fuel that was in the room 
caught lire, and got so much a head, that it could not be extinguished." 

t King James's brief says ; that it was the time of the assizes at Exeter, 
and that most of the principal inh abitauta were there. 


Here beganne the wof ull cry of fire, fire : fire were the cryes of 
old and young ; no noyse thundred about the streetes, but fire, 
fire, in euery place were heard the voyces of fire : then, water, 
water, that contrary Element was called for, yet all in vaine, the 
fire preuailed, and bootelesse were the labours of woe-tyred people 
then bestowed. 

Still burned house after house, building after building, and no 
succour, but wringing of hands, wailings, and feare-full out-cries 
by men, women, and children : woe was on euery side, and in 
euery mouth nothing but lamentations. 

And now (in griefe of soule) to speake truth, as the fire en- 
creased, the winde assisted, and boysterously blew it from street 
to street, consuming, wasting, and ruinating all as it went, with- 
out sparing eyther dwelling-house, ware-house, shoppe, cellar, 
barne, stable, or any other thing whatsoever, that might yeeld 
fewell to this outragious Consumer, which like a commanding 
Tyrant, passed along the High-streete of the Towne, and there 
with his red-flaming fury, wasted both houses and goods, to the 
utter undoing of many Merchants, and Trades-men, their wives 
and children. Eich and poore lost all they possessed, yea, those 
which in the morning were worth thousands, by night, had 
neyther gold, siluer, plate, nor house there to goe unto : no, 
scarce a garment left to weare, but onely those upon their backes. 

In this streete it is truely reported, that the fire consumed in 
houses, houshold-stuffe, goods, and commodities, the valew of 
fiftie thousand pound. Oh losse without recouerie ! Oh griefe 
without comfort ! Oh dole without end ! how dost thou breede 
the owners cares and miseries ? 

Had the raging tempest of this sulphuring fire here ended, 
though very great it was, yet reasonable had beene the burthen of 
this townes calamitie, but it unresistedly forraged diuers other 
streetes, being the seates and dwelling places of many wealthy 
householders, as saint Peters-streete, beautified with many costly 
and comely buildings, Bampton-streete, Barrington-streete, saint 
Andrewes-streete, with diuers other lanes, and backe-places, the 
capitall graces of this now decayed Towne : here, at one time 
burned they all : all in one fire, gaue light to the whole Countrie. 

This blazing beacon summoned in neighbouring inhabitants for 
helpe, but helpe too late presented it selfe, and too late lamented 
the wofull ruine of blacke-burned Teuerton, which stood smoking 
in her firie-red mantle, like the blazing towers of destroyed Jllium. 

This was a day of heauinesse, a day of griefe, a day of moane, a 
day of destruction, when the owner saw his goods burne before 
his face, his estate brought to naught, and his many yeeres of 
cares to gather for his wife and children thus unhappily wasted. 
Oh what a griefe it was to relenfull hearts, to be made there the 
heauie witnesses of the burning of new built houses, ware-houses, 
and shops, stuffed full of cloath, all on fire, Garners of corne 


flaming, rich houshould-stuffe, as bedding, linnen, woollen, silkes, 
veluets, brasse, pewter, and such unvaluable necessaries, all trans- 
formed to heapes of cole-black synders, spectacles of calamitie, 
and true prospects of this world's uncertaintie. 

If with the eye of pittie we can endure to behold this beautiful 
Towne turned into a Chaos of confusion, without teare-bestained 
cheekes, wee shall be thought more hard-hearted than untamed 
Panthers : they by nature will rue at the hurts of their own 
kinde, and shall not wee being men, replenished with reason and 
understanding, and much more being Christians, mourne for the 
loss of these our neighbours, and Christian brethren, who ranne 
amazedly up and downe the streetes, proposing to helpe others, 
while in the meane time their own fired, and in short time lost 
the name of an house, and became nothing else, but a mixed heape 
of ashes, synders, and tymber halfe burnte. 

Who could endure without heart grieving sobs to behold people 
in this ouer-toilesome labour, venter their Hues desperately betwixt 
two houses, combating together with thundring flames of fire. 
And most assuredly great doubt there is, but that some haue lost 
themselues in the same adventer, and are become the careless 
sacrificers of their own Hues, but as yet none are knowne to be so 
cast away, yet diuers are missed, supposed to be trauelled abroad, 
which if such goode lucke be, wofull will be their returne, when 
they shall come to be eye-witnesses of their owne pouerties. 

But this is most certainly knowne, and credibly verified, by 
many sad beholders of that wofull accident that in the heate of 
the fire, and in the greatest rage thereof, one friend had lost 
another, the husband the wife, the wife the husband ; the father 
his sonne, the sonne his father ; mothers crying for their children, 
and children for their mothers, amazedly running up and downe, 
neighbour calling for neighbour, friend for friend, till the heating 
flashes of the unruly flames had forced each of them to shifte for 
his owne life. 

But now returne we againe, to owr sorrowful subject, the true 
matter of lamentation, this consumed towne of Teuerton, this 
gallant market, and late glorie of Deuonshire, being brauely beauti- 
fied with a number of plentifull Orchards, and pleasant springing 
Gardens, the delights of Gentlemen, and people of best fashion. 
These ornaments of content (I say) had most of their fruits and 
flowers pitifully scorched, and put into the liuerie garment of this 
ruinating Tyrant, mercilesse fire. 

Was it not a sight of dole ; to behold the mossy barkes of fruit- 
full Trees, forcibly forsake their naturall colours, and their broad 
branches loaden with green leaues, and neere ripened fruits, 
withered and dryed up, through the extremitie of this flaming 
heate, the springing grasse, couering the lowly earth in Gardens, 
grasse-plots, orchards, and walking alleyes, had the like sable 
ornaments, and in dumbe sorrow, lamented the vigour of this 


wasting conquerour, and leueller of Townes and towers ; yea, all 
things within the compasse of this unfortunate Teuerton, serued 
to feede the devouring flames of this outragious consumer. 

I must here call to niinde many silly creatures, as Geese, Capons, 
Pigions, Duckes and Henns, with diuers other sorts of Pullaine, 
which being reasonlesse, knew not how to escape the fire, but 
were euen roasted alive, nay more, burned to ashes, and no signe 
left of their being, but onely emptie ayre, and void places covered 
with puddles of water, and ashes mixed together, wherein comfort- 
lesse people waded up to the knees, which was like unto a leastall 
of * filthy dirt. 

It is credibly reported, and very likely to be so, that many 
cattle, as horse, kine, and such like, were burned, with many 
fatted Beasts ready for the slaughter, and fit for the use of man. 
Oh lamentable misery ! Oh misery without compare, that in one 
day (through the sufferance of God), so much wealth should be 
wasted, as might haue maintained tenne thousand people in good 
estate for seauen yeeres. 

Great is their griefe, and generall the losse, for few or none 
their dwelling have escaped this fiery scourge, this flaming whippe, 
this red instrument of woe, this woe of all earthly woes, which 
benefiteth no Creature, not any one is bettered thereby : Euery 
one (I say to my soules sorrow) bare a part, it was shared amongst 
them : for the principall dwellings of the whole towne, from the 
one end unto the other, are quite consumed, and nothing left 
standing, but certaine Chimnies, and some wals, which are now 
the mourning monuments of this townes ruine, some twenty or 
thirty houses (we heare) of poore men have escaped, which was 
the onely worke of the Lord, to make his poore manifest to the 
world, which he preserued with their goods, for some speciall 
cause best knowne to himselfe, as he delivered the three Children 
out of the fiery fornace, Daniel out of the Lyons denne, and other 
such like. 

I must giue you likewise to understand, of the wonderfull 
preseruation of a Schoole-house, (by the hand of God) with 
certaine almes-houses, which was a most rare and strange thing 
so hapning, and declares the great power of the Maker of heauen 
and earth : for in the fiercest time of this consuming tempest, 
when, the fire in the greatest fury flamed, invironing these silly 
Cottages on euery side, when helpe was supposed to be quite 
past, when other houses stood round about burning, they had 
no hurt at all. no not so much as scorched, therefore wee may 

* Leastall, Laystall, or Ley stall, a dung-heap. 

" Scarce could he footing find in that foul way, 

For many corses, like a great lay-stall, 

Of murdered men, which therein murdered lay." 



now say, it is the Lord that setteth by, and pulleth downe as 
himselfe pleaseth.* 

The aforesaid presented Schoole-house, t that place of poore 
Childrens relief e, and Schollers comforts, may be likewise an 
example of Gods mercy, and a setled wonder for ensuing times : 
for the fire, as it were, forsooke it, and flew houering ouer it, with 
a kinde of unwillingnesse to touch it, when others neere adioyn- 
ing, were all leuelled with the earthe, and not one sticke left 
standing upon another, to the admiration and amazement of all 
those who beheld it. 

These houses happy preseruation was (without doubt) the 
workmanship of heaven, and an eminent signe and token, that 
God will haue care of his beloved, and such as are brought up in 
good learning, that in time to come, some brought up in this 
place, may give true lusbre from his word, to the world. 

But now by farther remembrances, I am againe forced to enter 
into our former course of sad descriptions, and tell of some few 
more pitif ull casualties happening in the afore-said towne : for 
being all at one time on fire, as I said before, past helpe and 
recouerie, the inhabitants thereof burthened with extreame sorrow, 
ranne up and downe the streets like distracted and franticke men, 
seeming (by reason of their long and wearisome labours) more 
like ghosts then men. 

Some there were, that, by good fortune, saued a few wares, 
goods, and household-stuffe from the fire, where carrying the 
same into the fields for better saftie, and returning backe, in hope 
to recouer more, were deceived of the former, which were borne 
away by purloyning Theeves, who had their hands rather prepared 
for thevery, than to helpe the distressed Townesmen, in this their 
great extremitie. 

Oh lamentable case ! where was conscience then ? that in the 
f ulnesse of misery would add woe upon woe, A.nd violently thrust 
one losse upon another. Thus what escaped the fire, stood in 
danger of stealing. 

Here was the true state of calamitie, safetie remained neither in 
towne nor fielde, and men knew not who to trust : for danger 
upon danger had forcibly compassed and beset them round. 

Upon the fift of August last (as 1 said before) the fire beganne 
about foure of the clocke in the after-noone, and continued in 
great extremitie, all that day following, with the ensuing night, 
for nineteene or twentie houres space, flaming to (Mens 
imaginations) up to the clouds, spreading forth such a fearfull 
light, as if the whole countrey had been fired. The light hereof 
strucke feare and amazement into all the adjoyning Townes and 

* Psalm Ixxv. 8. "God is the Judge: He putteth down one, and 
setteth up another." 

f The allusion is, doubtless, to Chilcott's Free School. 


Villages, as farre as Exeter, which is some tenne miles* from 
Teuerton, from all which places came people flocking in numbers, 
as it had beene to the greatest Faire or Mart in the Countrey. 
Indeed it was to a Mart of woe, to a Mart of heauinesse, where 
nothing was bought and solde but cares and griefe. 

Here, when these people beheld the braue Market-place flaming, 
Shops of Oloath, and Ware houses all on fire, Tyles, by ouer- 
heating, flye cracking from the houses, and like well charged 
Muskets, rattling in the ayre, houses cracke and burne asunder, 
timber falling downe with might and maine, with many other 
objects of remorse, it made their very hearts to shake, and euery 
part of their bodies to tremble with feare. 

All the night long the towne seemed like unto a burning moun- 
taine, shooting forth fiery comets, with streaming blazes, or like 
unto the Canopie of the world, beset with thousands of night- 
candles, or bright-burning Torches. 

Whosoever will enter into consideration hereof, must needes 
acknowledge their case to be most lamentable, and their sorrow 
unspeakable : for in the time of this burning battle, which was 
about twentie houres, the fire with his commanding power, made 
conquest and burnt into ashes, above three hundred houses, 
beside commodities, as corne and victuall placed in vawts and 
Cellars, which cannot be recouered againe, under many thousands 
of Pounds : was not this a most unhappy time, which constrained 
many of the wealthiest men in the towne, to lye in the fieldes, and 
under hedges, with their Wiues and Children, and as then to 
lodge themselues on the cold ground, that in the morning had 
choise of beds to goe unto : such was their sodaine wracke and 
hard fortune ? 

Is it not likewise a most pittifull case, that their ripened corne 
and graine, that this plentif ull haruest time lies unbrought home 
in the field for want of barnes and roomes to place it in, and not 
a shelter left against the drawing on Winter, to put their cattle 
in : no, not a Cottage to lodge themselves, their wiues and chil- 
dren in ? Therefore it is a vaine thing to trust in the uncertaintie 
of worldly riches, which being gotten with paines, and kept with 
cares, are soone lost, and subiect to a thousand dangers, as for 
example it is now come to passe by the occasion of this fire, that 
many rich Merchants, Trades-men, and Artificers, late abounding 
in wealth, prospering in this world exceedingly, as it were, tying 
prosperitie in a string, and sleeping, with good fortune, these men 
I say (the more is the pitie) who lately denyed to grace a poor 
mans house with their presence, and become comforts to their 
needy necessities, are now glad to request these poore mens 
fauours for the worst corner of their simple Cottage, where now 
they remaine in this their unlookt for misery. 

* Exeter is fourteen miles from Tiverton by the nearest road. 


You have heard before that there were twenty or thirty poore 
mens houses preserued from the fire, the only remains of this 
ruinated towne, which are now made the abidings and dwellings of 
many of the aforesaid Merchants, and the same so peopled, as it is 
wonderfull to thinke on : many be trauelled to their kindred and 
friends, there to remaine, till it pleaseth God to upraise them 
againe, others to neighbouring townes and villages adjoyning, 
some to one place, and some to another : as for the multitude of 
those that be in necessity, the Gentlemen and Magistrates of the 
Countrey haue taken order for them, and in charitie allots them a 
reasonable maintenance of reliefe, not one, as it is knowne, but by 
the good mindes of well disposed people, are well provided for, 
till it pleaseth God to renew this decayed towne to her former 
estate of trading. The inhabitants whereof are numbred (as it is 
credibly reported) to be very neere two thousand people, whereof 
some twelue hundred haue suffered losse, and borne the burden of 
this heauie punishment, this punishment of much bitternesse, and 
heart-wounding terror. 

Here let us a little grieve at this Townes ruines, consider her 
fall, and pittie her distress. Let us learn by her calamitie to look 
unto our selues, lest the same sodaine misfortune fall upon us (as 
it lately did upon her) : let not a traveller passe by, but in relent- 
ing sort afford her one teare to bewaile her case : shee was one of 
the brauest Market Townes in all the flowrishing "Westerne-parts ; 
shee had wealth and dignitie, and flowrished with all wished 
pleasures. Gentlemen delighted to see her, Trades-men liued 
richly in her, and Husband-men profited much by her, but now 
all this her brauerie is conuerted into beggarie, her statelinesse 
into disgrace, and all her mirth into moane : for now there is 
nothing seene in her but lamentations and complaints, no meet- 
ings at Markets, no buying and selling, nor scarse any name of 
Teuerton, but that here once stoode stately Teuerton, Teuerton, 
that braue Market of the West, and wealthy and riche town, for 
which now many a Merchant weeps and mournes, saying, oh woe 
are we for thee, for now thou sittest clad in mourning weedes, and 
thy faire head couered with pale Ashes. 

Then, what is he that passeth by this towne, late knowing the 
flowrishing estate thereof, and now beholding her lamentable 
spoyle, but in sorrow will shake his head, and cry, alacke, alacke, 
you distressed inhabitants, in regard hereof well may you weep 
day and night, and sit in solitary heauinesse without comforts of 
the world ? but such losses are sooner pittied then relieued, and it 
is an easie, but a good thing for men to say, The Lord which 
hath brought them low, can raise them up again, which he for his 
mercies sake grant. AMEN. 

It would perhaps be too much to expect that the author of this 
highly-wrought, and, as Shakespeare would say, ' soul-fearing ' 


description should descend to statistics, though, towards the 
end, he does furnish an estimate of the extent of the mischief. In 
the brief, however, issued by James I. and addressed to all and 
sundry, it is stated that except a few poor houses at the town's end, 
two almshouses, two free-schools, and a large and beautiful church, 
" all the whole town " was burnt to the ground. Directly and 
indirectly the clothing trade of Tiverton had supplied work for 
8,000 persons. At the lowest computation 2,000 had changed 
hands at the weekly market. From this happy condition of 
affluence the inhabitants were reduced to utter destitution, and the 
total loss, including goods, plate, ready-money, cloth, merchandize, 
and provisions of every kind, was calculated at 200,000. Dunsf ord 
says that the number of houses destroyed was 600 - not an 
improbable statement, only there is nothing to show on what 
evidence he bases it. Certainly in the range of its devastating 
effects the second great tire would seem to have eclipsed the first, 
and we are not surprised at the pessimism of King James, who 
expressed the belief that the inhabitants were not " likely again 
ever hereafter to recover their sad losses." The generous help, 
however, which was afforded, especially by the rich people of 
Devonshire, enabled the .inhabitants once more to re-build the 
town and revive its industries. The parish register thus im- 
proves the occasion : 

" On the 5th of August, Anno 1612, the whole Town was again 
Eired and Consumed, Except the Church, one Parsonage house, the 
School-houses, the Alms-houses, and about 30 houses of the Poor 
People. They are blind who see not in this the Finger of God, 
wherefore Fear God's threatenings, Jer. 17, 27 and believe God's 
Pphets if ye will prosper, 2 Chro. 20, 20."* 

* In Thorn's " Anecdotes and Traditions," published by the Camden 
Society, we find a reference to the Tiverton Fires, as well as an instruc- 
tive note on that famous book, "The Practice of Piety." 

"The towne of Tiverton," says the writer, " is mentioned as a fearful 
example of God's judgment for the prophanation of the Sabbath (being 
twice burnt), in a booke intituled ' The Practice of Pietie.' The 
Practice of Pietie was written by Bayley, Bishop of Bangor, and 
published in 1609. The book went through 59 editions between that 
year and 1725, and was translated into most of the languages of 
Protestant Europe. Among the examples of " God's judgment by fire," 
the learned Divine gives the following as regards Tiverton : '' Teverton, 
in Devonshire (whose remembrance makes my heart bleed),was often times 
admonished by her godly preacher that God would sometime bring some 
heavie judgment on the towne for their horrible prophanation of the Lord's 
day occasioned chiefly by their market on the day following Not long 
after his death on the 3rd of April, 1598, God in less than halfe an houre 
consumed, with a sudden and fearfull fire, the whole towne, except only 
the church, the court house, and the almes-houses, or a fewpoore people's 
dwellings ; where a man might have seene foure hundred dwelling 
houses all at once on fire, and about fiftie persons consumed with the 
flames ; and nowe again since the former edition of this booke, on the 
5th of August last, 1612 (14 years since the former fire), the whole town 


In the year 1866 an anonymous writer contributed to the 
Tiverton Gazette a tale, the subject of which was the fire at Tiverton 
in 1612. On the whole the effort cannot be pronounced a 
success, but the author, as the following extract will show, was 
not devoid of talent. I have taken the liberty to make some 
omissions, and also to invent a title for the story. 


The old man was beside himself with anger ; but he had re- 
ceived such a shaking from the fall, that he had no strength left 
to retaliate, and he, therefore, vented his rage on the boy. who 
was busy with his horse, kicked the dog, ordered the other appren- 
tice to light the furnace fire, and as his other workman was still 
sick, he himself helped Tart to get open a cask containing walnut- 
peels, which had been a long time under water. Tart found his 
position worst of all, for his master's temper was so ruined that he 
was in his most unreasonable mood, and the excitement of his 
mind caused him to do more harm than good in the work, and to 
blame his servant for every fault he committed. 

The two apprentices were mightily entertained by their 
master's wrathful mood, and diverted themselves at his expense. 

" By my faith " said Peter, " Surely our master is possessed. I 
wish Pincher would get out of sight the old devil hath, 1 fear, 
done him much mischief by the kick ; and he will kick him again, 
if he gets in his way," 

" Thou thinkest more of the dog than thou dost of thyself, 
Peter," returned Bill. " But hearest thou what he now saith to 
Tart ? " he asked, suddenly stopping in his half completed 
sentence. " We must work on Wednesday the day when all 
without distinction are to have a holiday, to seek enjoyment as 
they list if the cloth of the worthy Master Wynn be not dyed 
by that time, till we have done the task ! Ho, my worthy master," 
pursued the boy in a whisper, "Thou wilt not find me so obedient 
a hawk as to remain in my perch on that day. I prefer to obey 
our honest lord the King for once." 

" The tyrant " muttered Peter, " He hath ever more work than 
can be done at holiday times." 

" Thou sayest true, Peter, but wilt thou be here during the 
holiday appointed by the King ?" 

was again fired and consumed, except some 30 houses of poore people, 
with the school house and almes-houses. They are blind which see not 
in this the finger of God. God grant them grace, when it is next built 
to change their market day and to remove all occasions of prophaning 
the Lord's day.' And being a third time burnt, and a brief procured, 
and a Devonshire man collector, the very memoire of the probable 
occasion of the former flames cooleth the charitie of many that remem- 
bereth the storie, and was objected to the collector, who replyed that 
there was no truth in it, and the ' Practice of Pietie ' had done them 
much wrong-, which words bearing a double sense occasioned much 


" In sooth I must, whether I will or no." 

"Why?" questioned Bill. 

" Hast thou forgotten my uncle ? " 

" By all the saints, no Thou hadst better please thy niggard 
master, for he and thy uncle are warm friends." 

At this point in the conversation a friend of the dyer's entered 
the yard, and bore off that worthy to join the cavalcade which 
had already started for Exeter. Fully confirmed in their deter- 
mination not to be left alone in the house while it was unpro- 
tected, the females of the household departed, as the evening 
drew on, escorted by the ever attentive William Dickson, and 
arrived safely, just as night was closing in, at Smith's Farm. 

The 8th of August had come, and the streets of the ancient 
town of Tiverton bore a much more lively appearance than they 
generally did. But it was in the afternoon that the festivity of 
the inhabitants was at its height. Men and women, youths and 
maidens, and all else were in a merry mood. Pageants were got 
up, pleasure parties were formed, a wealthy yeoman had an ox 
roasted whole and afterwards cut up for all who chose to fetch 
a steak of that favourite flesh on that day. Many a merry dance 
was going on in one or two of the neighbouring fields, for all ser- 
vants being liberated from work on that day, theyTwere determined 
to make the utmost possible use of their holiday for enjoyment. 
In a word, every body was merry, and a jocund expression sat on 
every face. Then in accordance with the custom of the day a 
bull was to be baited, to which amusement the young men and 
boys in particular looked forward with great glee. The bull's 
horns and tail were to be decorated with ribbons, and he was to 
be driven or led round the town and thence to a field in the 
suburbs, where he was to be placed within a strong wooden ring- 
fence, in which, exposed to the full view of the spectators, he was 
to be set upon by dogs, trained for the purpose, one at a time. 

We have said that all servants were liberated from work on 
that day, but we must except Tart and the apprentice Peter who 
were busy in the dyeing house. They had tried hard to " finish 
up " by noon, but their efforts had been vain ; there were still 
enough pieces to keep them from pleasure till six o'clock in the 
evening. They had done their best and had hoped above all 
things to be in time to see the bull-baiting in the afternoon, and 
to join in the principal games ; arid now they were disheartened, 
and many were the words of dispraise spoken by them at the 
expense of their master. Nevertheless, they were working with 
a will, in order to be able to join in the evening carousals, when, a 
little after three o'clock in the afternoon, Diller entered. 

" By my faith," he cried on entering, " Te are content to re- 
main here and work yourselves to death to please your niggard 
master ?" 

" Thou knowest we can't help ourselves, Diller," returned Tart. 


" I must e'en keep in the good graces of our master, if I won't see 
my wife and children become beggars." 

" Well, Tart ? " said his comrade, turning to the latter, " a cock 
fight is being got up at the Green Dragon. "We have a famous 
pit; but none, as far as I can see, will come up to thy birds. 
Master Templer, who is staying there, hath promised 1 to the 
owner of the best bird of the pit. Thou hast a good chance of 
winning it, an.thou wilt take the trouble to bring thy best birds." 

Thus tempted, Tart arranged to leave his work for an hour, 
giving instructions to the boy Peter, to prepare a new lot of dye, 
promising to let him off to see the bull-baiting in return for 
working during his absence. This was part of the plot of Templer 
and his confederate for getting the dyer's house emptied of its 
inmates, in order the better to carry out their diabolical designs. 
Templer was anxiously on the look-out for the arrival of Diller 
and his dupe, and his eyes brightened as they entered the yard 

" Capitally done so far," whispered he ; " but thou hadst better 
haste thee to finish the work so nicely begun. Methinks yonder 
gull, Tart, will not think of his work for an hour, at least. The 
boy, however, must now be attended to." 

" Trust me," returned Diller. 

This said, he left the premises, while Templer returned to 
witness the sport going on in the cock-pit. 

Diller, having left the Green Dragon, traversed the streets with 
rather a pre-occupied air, which he vainly tried to disguise. He 
had not been walking five minutes, inwardly regretting, if the 
truth must be told, having lent himself to so villainous a scheme 
as the one he had in hand, but which he now felt bound to carry 
through, when suddenly a column of smoke rose into the air in 
the direction of the dyer's house, accompanied a moment after by 
a fierce tongue of flame. Diller stopt suddenly short in horrified 
consternation. Here was the very crime which he had been 
meditating, and of which he would probably have been guilty in 
another hour, done ready to his hand, and by what agency ? 
"Was it possible that it could be other than supernatural ? Had the 
fiends then accomplished a work so congenial to them, and what 
would they demand for their work ? The would-be incendiary 
shook with fear as he had never quailed in his life, and turning 
round, almost demented in his fright, fled rapidly from the spot. 

We must now glance at the events which had in the meantime 
taken place in the dye-house, whereby the evil designs of those 
wicked men had been frustrated, or rather, we should say, 
supplanted by circumstances utterly beyond their control, and 
never contemplated by them. We have seen how the boy Peter 
was left alone in the dye-house, and his acquaintance, the young 
weaver on Angel Hill, who owned the stray dog of Saturday 
night, had noted this fact also, and thought it a capital oppor- 


tunity to pay a visit to his friend ; so whistling to Towser to 
accompany him, he made for the dyer's, his dog following close to 
his heels. 


Peter was quite delighted at the news brought him by his 
friend. He felt sure his dog would win and that he should have 
the shilling, Pincher was growling loudly, his nose was wrinkled, 
and his teeth were showing, and the hair was standing upright on 
the ridge of his back, at the presence of the stranger on his 
particular domain ; while Towser's outside was just as forbidding 
on perceiving how unwelcome a visitor he was. No sooner did 
the boys notice the antagonistic attitude of the animals than the 
idea of setting them to fight for their amusement suggested 
itself, and was immediately caught at by both, Peter exclaiming, 
" Let me put in some more firing first to keep up the fire while 
our dogs be at it, and then we'll get 'em on." 

Hereupon he laid hold of a pick to feed the fire with some 
furze from a heap lying at a little distance from his furnace, in 
which the dye was almost boiling. In his impatience he did not 
disentangle a little from the heap at a time, as he would have 
done had he been cool, but drew a lot carelessly to the furnace's 
mouth, hastily pushing in what he thought enough to save him 
trouble for a little while, leaving a train of furze from the fire to 
the heap in the dye-house. Then reckless in their excitement the 
boys set their dogs at it, and the animals fell upon each other 
tooth and nail. The attention of their masters was so absorbed 
that they thought of nothing and perceived nothing, until a 
scorching heat at their backs made itself felt, accompanied by a 
loud crackling and roaring sound, while a suffocating smoke filled 
the room, and to their horror they saw that while they had been 
engaged with their dogs, the train of furze had caught fire from 
the furnace and communicating with the rest had ignited the 
whole heap of firing. Almost petrified with horror the boys 
stared open-mouthed at the flames, which were now spreading 
with fearful rapidity, until fearing for their personal safety, they 
instinctively rushed into the streets shouting " Fire ! fire ! " to 
the great consternation of a crowd of people who were beginning 
to collect to know the cause of the gathering smoke they had 
observed issuing from the dyer's premises. 

The third fire, which happened on the evening of Saturday, 
June 5th, 1731, was on a smaller scale than the two previous, 
but still sufficiently appalling. It had its historian in the Eev. 
Samuel Smith, master of the Grammar School, to whom later 
writers are indebted for most of the particulars ; but since his 
style, chastened by the study of the classics, has not that 
poignancy and abandon which lend such interest to the above- 


quoted naive recitals, I shall not do him the honour to reproduce 
him verbally. The fire commenced at a baker's shop in Gold- 
street, and spread with alarming rapidity. There had been a long 
spell of dry weather, and this, together with the strong wind then 
blowing, may account for its speedy progress. The fire engines 
were kept at the church, but owing to the prevailing confusion it 
was some time before they could be brought to the spot. It was 
then found that some of the apparatus had been forgotten. 
While it was being fetched, the fire attained such a height that 
it was hopeless for anyone to think of remaining. The engine 
was left to its fate, and, though full of water, was burnt. Mean- 
while nothing was done to arrest the flames. The inhabitants 
could only look on, oppressed by a feeling of horror and 
despair. The fire extended a quarter of a mile in length, and 
almost as far in breadth, and attacked three hundred houses, to 
say nothing of out-houses. Gold-street and a considerable part 
of Fore-street and Bampton-street succumbed to the flames. 
Most of the houses appear to have been thatched, a circumstance 
which helps to explain the swiftness of the disaster. At the 
west of Fore-street, however, and at the north of Bampton-street 
were the residences of some of the principal inhabitants. These 
houses were built of stone or brick, and had slate roofs, which 
rendered them less exposed to combustion. Great efforts were 
made to save them, and as the wind had now fallen, the fire was 
stayed at these points. ]t was then four o'clock in the morning. 
*A propos of this event, the following entry occurs in the parish 

" On the 5th day of June, Anno. 1731, a fire broak out in the 
house of one John Tucker, a Baker on Bans Hill, about 5 of the Clock 
in the afternoone, which burnt all the Houses on both Sides of the 
Street, from Loman bridge to Mr. Oliver Peard's house on the 
South Side, and Mr. William Heathfield's house on the North Side 
of High Street, with a great part of Bampton Street and Barring- 
ton Street, Germany, and all the Back Sides and Courtlages 
from the Same Streets ; but by God's mercy But one person, one 
Henry Murray, a poor man belonging to Mr. John Greenway's 
Alms-house, and in the same burnt." 

The case referred to is curious, Murray being the victim of his 
own obstinacy or superstition. He had been repeatedly warned 
of his peril, but refused to go away, saying, " Who ever heard of 
an alms-house being burnt ? " When at length he realised his 
mistake, it was too late, escape being impossible. On the evening 
of Sunday a committee was appointed to make out a list of the 
houses destroyed, their tenants, and the losses sustained. It was 
found that 298 houses had been burnt and 2,000 persons 
rendered homeless. The majority had lost all their worldly gear. 
Steps were at once taken to mitigate the distress, Exeter, as 
usual, being foremost in this good work. A subscription list 


having been opened, in a few days the sum of .381 10s. 4d. was 
forwarded from the Ever-Faithful City to the scene of desolation. 
Meanwhile the inhabitants themselves had not been idle. With 
commendable promptitude the Mayor summoned a meeting of the 
Corporation, the Clergy, and the leading people to consider the 
situation and advise on the best method of restoring the town. 
A collection was at once made, and generous contributions were 
received, among others, from some who, though losers by the 
fire, still retained a portion of their wealth. The King sent 
1,000, and the Queen and the Prince of Wales made ample 
donations. Sums were subscribed at London, Westminster, and 
Bristol, and the Bishop of Exeter in an encyclical to his clergy urged 
upon them the special exigency of the case. The losses occasioned 
by the fire were estimated at .58,976 14s. 9d. Of this large 
amount only 1,135 was covered by insurance, while the sum 
raised by subscriptions was 10,201 6s. 7|d., or one sixth of the 
damage. The committee who had been appointed to distribute 
the money, divided the sufferers into four classes. The first con- 
sisted of those who had lost everything ; the second, of those who 
had lost the bulk of their possessions ; the third, of those who 
stood in need of some assistance : while the fourth was composed 
of a number of individuals who did not want and declined to 
receive any share of the contributions. The committee, acting 
with rare discretion, drew up the following resolution : " That 
we will not, in making the distribution to the sufferers by the 
late dreadful fire, proceed by the rule of simple proportion, 
allowing so much in the pound to all whom we shall judge fit 
objects of this charity ; but due consideration shall be had of the 
circumstances they are left in, and the state of their families; and 
their allowance shall be great or less, in proportion to their necessi- 
ties brought upon them by this calamity." In addition to this,bake- 
houses were erected near the workhouse or " hospital " for the 
benefit of the sufferers. One consequence of the fire must not be 
over-looked. It seems that at the time of this disaster there was 
an epidemic of small pox. Owing to the lack of shelter a great 
deal of overcrowding took place, and eight or ten families were 
huddled where previously there had been only one. Thus 
great facilities were afforded for the spread of the disease ; and 
pestilence completed the work which the fire had begun. 

After such a dreadful experience it was plainly the duty of the 
inhabitants to guard against its repetition. In 1732, therefore, an 
Act of Parliament was passed, which contained, among others, 
the following enactments : That all houses, outhouse, roofs, 
walls, and other buildings, should be covered with lead, slate, or 
tile, and that a thatched house should be a nuisance. Any person 
guilty of such a nuisance, and refusing to rectify or remove the 
same in the space of one month after notice being given by the 
Mayor or Justice, was subject to a penalty of five pounds for 


every month during which the grievance remained unredressed, 
and the costs of the action. Distillers, dyers, brewers, malt- 
makers, chandlers, soap-boilers, neadlers of brass or copper, and 
those engaged in any other dangerous trade were forbidden to 
exercise their occupations in or near the principal streets, nor 
was any stack or rick of hay, furze, wood, corn, or straw, or any 
such combustible matter to be erected near the main thoroughfares. 
The Mayor and Justice, or two Capital Burgesses, were empowered 
to uncover or pull down houses, in order to prevent a fire from 
spreading, while compensation was to be made to the owners by a 
rate levied for that purpose by the Governor and Guardians of 
the Poor. A court was constituted for the object of settling all 
disputes arising out of the great fire between the various pro- 
prietors and claimants. By the direction of the court any pro- 
prietor refusing to re-build within three years was required to sell 
his lands, the value of which was to be determined by a jury. 
The court was authorised also to make alterations in the streets 
and other places for the convenience of the public. If anyone 
felt aggrieved at the decision of the court, he must appeal within 
twenty-one days to the Judges of Assize, who might order a'com- 
mission for re-hearing the case, and the sentence of the commission 
was to be final. 

The following verses, preserved by Dunsford, were evidently 
written soon after 1731. As is often the case with these local 
poems, there are one or two stanzas which are not easy to con- 
strue, but taken as a whole they afford a picture of rural England 
worthy of the imagination of Morland. 

Summer's bloom now cheers the sight, 
Sporting where the winter frown'd ; 

Standing on the lofty height, 
We command the landscape round. 

Nature in the prospect yields 
Humble dales and mountains bold ; 

Meadows, woodlands, hills and fields, 
Yellow'd o'er with waving gold. 

On the uplands ev'ry glade 

Brightens in the blaze of day ; 
O'er the vales the sober shade 

Softens to an ev'ning grey. 

Sheep upon the mountain's brow, 

Feeding o'er the daisied lea ; 
Herds of redden'd hue below 

O'er the valley's pasture stray. 

Where the rill by slow degrees 

Swells into a crystal pool, 
Hanging banks and shelving trees 

Shoot and keep the water cool. 


On her waves the sunny beam 

Glitters in meridian pride, 
On proud Isca's rapid stream, 

Hastening to the restless tide. 

O'er the green a festal throng 

Gambols in fantastic trim, 
As the full cart moves along, 

Hearken I 'tis their harvest hymn. 

Cheerful as the summer morn, 

Bounding from her loaded pad, 
See the maid presents her corn 

Smirking to the miller's lad. 

Where the mantling willows nod 

From the green bank's slopy side, 
Patient with his well-thrown rod, 

Many an angler breaks the tide. 

Where the stone cross rais'd its head, 

Many a saint and pilgrim hoar 
Up the hill was wont to tread, 

Barefoot in the days of yore. 

Solemn see the shaded brow, 

Where the Gothic pile appears, 
O'er the trembling group below 

Tott'ring with a load of years. 

Turn to the contrasted scene, 

Where beyond the hoary pile 
Streets appear mid shades of green ; 

Where the new built dwellings smile. 

Villages, farms, seats, and spires 

Scatter'd on the landscape lie, 
'Till the distant view retires, 

Closing in an azure sky. 


I annex some documents, hitherto unpublished, relating to 
legal proceedings under the Act of Parliament which was passed 
for the rebuilding of Tiverton. I venture to think they will 
" number good intellects." 

At a Court held the Tenth day of May One Thousand Seven Hundred 
and fforty ffour at the Guildhall of the Town of Tiverton In the County 
of Devon in pursuance of an Act of Parliament made in the ffif th year 
of the Reign of his present Majesty Entitled an Act for the better and 
more easy rebuilding of the Town of Tiverton in the County of Devon 


and for determining differences touching Houses and Buildings Burnt 
Down or Demolished by reason of the late dreadf ull ffire there and for 
the better preventing dangers from ffire for the ffuture, Before Peter 
Bartow, Esq., Justice, Mr. Leonard Blagdon, Mr. William Burridge, Mr. 
John Cannington, Mr. ffrancis Mathews, Mr. Thomas How, Mr. Clement 
Govet, Mr. John Davey, and Mr. Henry Hodge being Nine of the 
Co missioners appointed by the said Act of Parliament Cometh John 
Mardon, of Tiverton aforesaid, Ropemaker, and Informeth the Court that 
by the late dreadfull ffire in Tiverton aforesaid two Several Messuages 
and Dwelling Houses with all the outhouses and Buildings belonging 
thereunto, scituate lyeing and being in and near Bampton Street and 
Gold Street, in the Town of Tiverton aforesaid, formerly in the several 
possessions of Aaron Smith, sadler, and Robert Thomas or their Tenants 
and lately in the possession of Benjamin Parkhouse, John Humphrys, 
and John Murch as Tenants at a Rack Rent were Burnt Down and 
destroyed and demolished and that the proprietors and Owners thereof 
(To Wit) Bartholomew Davey, who is Intitled to a Moyety of one of the 
said Messuages and Dwelling houses And of the Shop Chambers, Stable, 
Linney, Courtlages, and Garden thereunto belonging and appertaining 
which was formerly in the possession of the said Aaron Smith for the 
Remainder of a Term of One Thousand years therein yet to come and 
unexpired, Thomas Birchinsha and ffrancis Shobrook, Gentlemen, who 
are Jointly Intitled to be ffee Simple and Inheritance of the one ffourth 
part purporty and portion the whole in ffour parts to be divided of the 
said Messuage or Dwelling House and premises formerly in the possession 
of the said Aaron Smith, Thomas Rudd, who is Intitled co the Moyety of 
the said Messuage or Dwelling House formerly in the possession of the 
said Robert Thomas as assd for the Remainder of a certain Term of Two 
Thousand years therein yet to come and unexpired, And also lawfully 
and Rightfully seized in ffee of the one ffourth part of the said Messuage 
or Dwelling House (formerly in the possession of the said Robert 
Thomas) and Elisabeth Newton widow, who to also Intitled to two eighth 
parts of the void or Vacant Plotts of Ground whereon the said two 
Several Messuages Dwelling Houses and premises were lately standing 
and being for the Remainder of a certain Term or Terms of Two Thou- 
sand years therein yet to come and unexpired Any or either of them or 
any person or persons Claiming under them any or either of them had 
not Laid the ffoundation of any House or Houses to be rebuilt in the 
space thereof Notwithstanding Three years and upwards have past since 
the said ffire It is therefore ordered and decreed by this 
said Court that the said Bartholomew Davey, Thomas Birchinsha, and 
ffrancis Shobrooke, Thomas Rudd and Elisabeth Newton or some or one 
of these do or doth within the space of one Month lay the ffoundation of 
the said Houses in order to the Rebuilding thereof and Rebuild and 
finish the same within the Space of Twelve Months then next following, 
according to the true Intent and meaning of the said Act of Parliament 
and the said Bartholomew Davey, Thomas Birchinsha, ffrancis Sho- 
brooke, Thomas Rudd, and Elisabeth Newton have forthwith Notice of 
this order and decree. Peter Bartow, Leonard Blagdon, 
Wm. Burridge, John Cannington, Francis Matthews, 
Thomas How, Clem* Covet, Jn- Davey, Henry Hodge. 

Whereas John Mardon hath entred his Complaint in Writing 
before the Comissioners appointed by an Act of Parliament made in the 
ffifth year of his present Majesty King George the Second, to determine 
Differences touching Houses and Buildings Burnt Down or Demolished 
by reason of the late dreadfull ffire in Tiverton against you for not 


Rebuilding a Vacant plott of Ground Scituate lyeing and Being in and 
near Bampton Street and Gold Street in the Town of Tiverton aforesaid, 
now in your possessions haveing or Claiming a Right thereto or some part 
thereof These are, therefore, to give you Notice that the Comissioners 
appointed to put the said Act in Execution will hear the Matters of the 
said Complaint on Monday, the Eleventh day of June next, by five of the 
Clock in the afternoon, at the Guildhall in Tiverton aforesaid, when and 
where you may severally attend to make your respective defences to the 
said Complaint if you think proper. Dated at the Guildhall of Tiverton 
aforesaid the Tenth day of May, One Thousand Seven Hundred & fforty 

To Mrs. Elisabeth Newton 
Mr. Bartholomew Davey 
Mr. ffrancis Shobrooke 
Mr. Thomas Birchinsha 

Mr. Thomas Rudd 

John Nicolls 
x Secretary. 

The Proprietors. 

At a Court held the Eleventh day of June One Thousand Seven 
Hundred and fforty ffour at the Guildhall of the Town of Tiverton in the 
County of Devon in pursuance of an Act of Parliament made in the 
ffif th year of the Reign of his present Majesty entitled an Act for the 
more Easy Rebuilding the Town of Tiverton in the County of Devon,and 
for determining differences touching Houses or Buildings Burnt Down 
or Demolished by reason of the late dreadful! ffire there and for the 
better preventing dangers from ffire for the ffuture, before Peter Bartow 
Esqe. Mr. Leonard Blagdon, Mr. William Burridge, Mr. Oliver Peard, 
Mr. Peter Bartow, Jun r - , Mr. John Cannington, Mr. ffrancis Matthews, 
Mr. Robert Glass, Mr. Thomas How, Mr. Clement Govet, Mr. 
John Davey, Mr. Thomas Bircbinsha, Mr. Henry Hodge, and 
Mr. Peter Cart-hew, being ffourteen of the Comissioners ap- 
pointed by the said Act of Parliament Be it remembered that 
the sevi persons who have hereunto Respectively Subscribed their Names, 
and whose names are herein Inserted (to wit) George Land, Richard 
Downe, Thomas Paddon, John Noble, William West, JohnHaris, Thomas 
Beck, John Palmer, John Langworthy, Richard Gully, John Duckham, 
Thomas Shariand, honest and lawful men of the Town of Tiverton 
aforesaid, having been duely Impanneled Summoned and Sworne as 
Jurors by and before the Comissioners above named pursuant to the 
said Act of Parliamt Find that by reason of the late dreadfull ffire in 
Tiverton aforesaid five several Messuages and Dwelling Houses with all 
the outhouses and Buildings belonging thereunto, Scituate lyeing and 
being in and near Bampton Street and Gold Street, in the Town of liver- 
ton aforesaid,fformerly in the several possessions of Aaron Smith Sadler 
and Rob*- Thomas, and lately in the possessions of Benjamin Parkhouse, 
John Humphreys, and John Murch, as Tenants at a Rack Rent, were 
Burnt down, destroyed, and demolished And that Elisabeth Newton, 
of Tiverton aforesaid, Widow, Bartholomew Davey, of Tiverton 
aforesaid, Tallow Chandler, ffrancis Shobrook, of Tiverton aforesaid, 
Gentleman, Thomas Birchinsha, of Tiverton aforesaid, Apothecary, 
and Thomas Rudd, of Tiverton aforesaid, Mercer, or some or one 
of them are or is Intitled to the same premisses or some part, 
thereof for the Remainder of Two Thousand years or one Thousand 
years or such like long Term of years absolute or are Seized 
in ffee of the same premises or some part or parts thereof. 
And that they, the said Elisabeth Newton, Bartholomew Davey 


ffrancis Shobrooke, Thomas Birchinsha, and Thomas Rudd, or any or 
either of them or any person or persons claiming under them or any or 
either of them have not laid the ffoundation of any House or Houses to 
be rebuilt in the placejthereof Notwithstanding Three years and upwards 
have past since the said ffire And the said Jurors do think fitt and 
Assess the Sum of Seventy Pounds of lawfull money of Great Britain to 
be awarded and paid unto the said Elizabeth Newton, Bartholomew 
Davey, ffrancis Shobrooke, Thomas Birchinsha, and Thomas Rudd, and 
as a recompense for their every and either of their Respective Rights 
and Interests therein by any person or persons undertaking to be the 
rebuilder or Rebuilders thereof. 

George Land William West John Langworthy 

Richard Downe John Harris Richard Gully 

Thomas Paddon Thomas Beck John Duckham 

John Noble J. Palmer Thos- Sharland 

At a Court held the Eleventh day of June One Thousand Seven 
Hundred and fforty ffour at the Guildhall of the Town of Tiverton in 
the County of Devon in pursuance of an Act of Parliamt made in the 
ffifth year of his Present Majesty entitled an Act for the more Easy re- 
building of the Town of Tiverton in the County of Devon and for 
Determining Differences touching Houses and Buildings Burnt down 
and demolished by reason of the late dreadfull ffire and for the 
Better preventing dangers from ffire for the ffuture, Peter Bartow Esq e - 
Mr. Leonard Blagdon, Mr. William Burridge, Mr. Oliver Peard. Mr. 
Peter Bartow, Jun*-> Mr. John Cannington, Mr. ffrancis Matthews, Mr. 
Robert Glass, Mr. Thomas How, Mr. Clement Govet, Mr. John Davey, 
Mr. Thomas Birchinsha, Mr. Henry Hodge, and Mr. Peter Carthew being 
ffourteen of the Comissioners appointed by the Said Act of Parliament 
Be it Remembered that whereas at a Court held the Tenth day 
of May last past John Mardon, of Tiverton aforesaid, Ropemaker, came 
and Informed the Court that by reason of the late dreadful ffire in Tiver- 
ton aforesaid two Several Messuages and Dwelling Houses with all the 
outhouses and Buildings belonging thereunto Scituate lyeing and being 
in and near Bampton Street and Gold Street, in the Town of Tiverton 
aforesaid, formerly in the several possessions of Aaron Smith, Sadler, and 
Robert Thomas or their Tenants (and lately in the possessions of 
Benjamin Parkhouse, John Humphreys, and John Murch as Tenants, at a 
Rack Rent), were Burnt down, destroyed, and demolished, And that the 
proprietors or owners thereof (to wit) Bartholomew Davey, who is 
Intitled to the Moyety of one of the said Messuages or Dwelling houses 
and of the Shops, Chambers, Stable, Linney, (Jourtlage, and Garden, 
thereunto belonging and appertaining, which was formerly in the 
possession of the said Aaron Smith for the Remainder of a Term of 
One Thousand years therein yet to come and unexpired, Thomas 
Birchinsha and ffrancis Shobrooke, Gentlemen, who are Jointly Intitled 
to the ffee Simple and Inheritance of the one fourth part purporty and 
portion (the whole in four parts to be divided) of the sail Messuage or 
Dwelling House and premisses formerly in the possession of the said 
Aaron Smith. Thomas Rudd, who is Intitled to the Moyety of the said 
Messuage or Dwelling House formerly in the possession of the said 
Robert Thomas as aforesaid for the Remainder of a certain Term of Two 
Thousand years therein yet to come and unexpired, and also lawfully and 
Rightfully seized in ffee of the Ground whereon the said two several 
Messuages, Dwelling Houses and premisses were lately standing and 
Leting for the Remainder of a certain Term or Terms of Two Thousand 
Years therein yet to come and unexpired any or either of them or any 


person or persons Claiming under them Any or either of them had not 
laid the ffoundation of any House or Houses to be rebuilt in the place 
thereof Notwithstanding Three years and upwards have past since the 
said ffire It was therefore ordered and decreed by the 
said Court that the said Bartholomew Davey, Thomas Birchinsha, and 
ffrancis Shobrooke, Thomas Rudd, and Elisabeth Newton, or some or oue 
of them should within the Space of One Month lay the ffoundation of 
the said Houses in order to the Rebuilding thereof and Rebuild and finish 
the same within the space of Twelve Months then next following, 
according to the true Intent and meaning of the said Act of Parliament 
and that the said Bartholomew Davey, Thomas Birchinsha and ffrancis 
Shobrooke, Thomas Rudd, and Elizabeth Newton, should forthwith have 
Notice of this order and decree And it appearing unto this Court 
that the said Bartholomew Davey, Thomas Birchinsha and ffrancis 
Shobrooke, Thomas Rudd, and Elisabeth Newton have Respectively had 
Notice of the said order and decree, and that they or either of them 
have not within the Time Limitted by the said Court as aforesaid laid the 
ffoundation of the said Houses in order to the Rebuilding thereof, but 
have respectively made default therein, and the said John Mardon hath 
undertaken and doth hereby Submitt and promise to Thomas Rudd and 
Elisabeth Newton for their respective Rights and properties therein And 
this Court haveing heard the said parties and their several Allegations 
and having also Impannelled and Summond a Jury before them of 
Honest and lawfull Men of the Town of Tiverton aforesaid pursuant to 
the Directions of the said Act of Parliament, whose names are herein 
inserted (to wit) George Land, Richard Downe, Thomas Paddon, John 
Noble, William West, John Harris, Thomas Beck, J. Palmer, John 
Langworthy, Richard Gully, John Duckham, Thomas Sharland (to whom 
the oath required by the said Act hath been duely administred), who 
upon their Oaths Administred to them by this Court have thought fitt 
and assessed the Sum of Seventy Pounds of lawfull money of Great 
Britain to be awarded and paid unto the said Bartholomew Davey, 
Thomas B.irchinsha, and ffrancis Shobrooke, Thomas Rudd and Elisabeth 
Newton for and as a Recompence and Satisfaction for their respective 
Rights and Interests therein with Verdict or Assessment of the Jurors 
aforesaid entred previous hereto among the Records and proceedings 
of the said Act of Parliament Now this Court doth award, order, 
adjudge, and decree that the said John Mardon who hath undertaken to 
be the Rebuilder as aforesaid do give and pay the said Sum of Seventy 
pounds to the said Bartholomew Davey, Thomas Birchinsha, and ffrancis 
Shobrooke, Thomas Rudd and Elisabeth Newton for such their respective 
Rights and Interests aforesaid which said Sum they the said Bartholomew 
Davey, Thomas Birchinsha, and ffrancis Shobrooke, Thomas Rudd and 
Elizabeth Newton do hereby accept and the said John Mardon hath now 
brought the said Sum of Seventy pounds here into Court and paid the 
same unto the said Bartholomew Davey, Thomas Birchinsha, and 
ffrancis Shobrooke, Thomas Rudd, and Elisabeth Newton, who have re- 
ceived the same. And this Court doth further order, adjudge, and 
decree that in regard of such Default as aforesaid the Houses so to be 
rebuilt and the Soil thereof and all Courts, yards, Backsides and other 
the appurts thereunto belonging, be disposed of and Conveyed to the said 
John Mardon who hath undertaken to Rebuild the same as aforesaid 
and to his Heirs, Executors, and Assigns. And this Court doth 
according by this their Judgment, Order, and Decree and by the power and 
Authority of the said Act of Parliament dispose of, Assign, and Appoint 
the said Houses so to be rebuilt and the soil thereof and all Courts, 
yards, Backsides, Gardens and other appurts thereunto belonging to the 
said John Mardon his Heirs Execs, and Assi 8 - And this Court doth 


further order, adjudge, and decree that the said Houses so to be Rebuilt 
and the Soil thereof and all Courts, yards, Backsides, Gardens, and other 
appurtenances thereunto belonging shall for ever hereafter be and 
Remain unto the said John Mardon his Heirs, Executors, and Assigns for 

Peter Barlow 
Leonard Blagdon 
William Burridge 
Oliver Peard 
Peter Barlow, Junr. 
John Cannington 
ffrancis Matthews 
Rob*. Glass 
Thomas How 
Clem*- Govet 
John Davey 
Thos- Birchinsha 
Henry Hodge 
Peter Carthew 




B reign of James I. opens auspiciously for Tiverton with 
the foundation of Blundell's School. Peter Blundell, who 
was born at Tiverton, 1 520, is a kind of local Dick Whitting- 
ton. Of humble parentage, he was accustomed as a boy to run 
errands, and later on he became an ostler. Extravagant profits 
were then realised on kerseys, as much, it is said, as a hundred per 
cent., and Blundell's first venture was to invest his savings in a 
kersey which he entrusted to a carrier. The latter charged him 
nothing for the carriage, and on his arrival at London sold the 
kersey for a considerable sum. He was faithful to his trust and 
made over the profits to Blundell, who, encouraged by his success, 
continued to speculate in the same way, and at last he purchased 
enough kerseys to load a horse. After this he himself went to 
London, where he found employment in the kersey trade, and 
where he remained until he had acquired a sufficient capital to 
commence the manufacture of kerseys on his own account. He 
then returned to Tiverton. Here he established that business 
which afterwards proved so lucrative, though he seems also to have 
bought from other clothiers, and from time to time he re-visited 
London, the market for his goods. For some years before his 
death he permanently resided in the metropolis. He died April 
18, 1601, and was buried in the Church of St. Michael Eoyal. 
This church was destroyed in the fire of London, 1666, and 
Blundell's monument, if any existed, must have perished at the 
same time. 

Although mercantile considerations led Blundell during the 
later period of his life to exile himself from his native town, he 
did not cease to feel an interest in its welfare. This is shown by 
his will, dated the 9th of June, 1599. In it he directs his 
executors that " with all convenient speede upon a fytt and con- 
venient plott and piece of grounde in Tiverton aforesaid, by my 


executors for that purpose to be purchased and procured, they 
shall erecte and buyld a faier School House to conteyne for the 
place for teaching only in length one hundred footeand in breadth 
t'ower and twenty foot, a hawle, buttery, and kitchen, all of con- 
venient space and biggness to be joined unto it, with fit and con- 
venient roomes over the same hawle, buttery, and kitchin, all the 
windows well and strongly glassed and barred with iron barrs and 
well covered, the floor of the school to be well plancked with 
plancks of oke, &c., and to be devided on or neere the middest 
with some fit partition of fower foot in height, or thereabouts, and 
to be strongly wainscotted round abowte, to extend abowte five or 
six foot above the settles or formes, &c. The hawle to be alsoe 
plancked or paved and also wainscotted round abowte, and to 
have in the hall and chamber over the same one or other chimney, 
and in the kitchen one faier great chimney with an oven and a 
chamber over the kitchen with a chimney therein ; and that there 
shall be adjoining to this school-house a convenient garden and 
woodyard, with a fit house, &c., uppon or as near the river of Ex 
there, or Loinan, as may be, and the whole to be rounde aboute 
well walled and inclosed with a strong wall, the going in and 
forthe to be at one only place with a fair stong gate with a little 
dore, as is usual, &c. and that the whole may be substantially 
done, my will is that my executors shall bestowe therein twentie 
four hundred poundes within the least." 

He directs further " that in the said schooles shall not be 
taughte above the number of one hundred and fiftie scholers at 
any one tyme, and those from tyme to tyme of children born, 
and for the most parte before their age of sixe yeares brought upp 
in the towne or parrish of Tyverton aforesaid ; and if the same 
number be not filled upp, my will is that the wante shall be supplyed 
with the children of forreyners ; and those forreyriers only to be 
received and admitted, from tyme to tyme for ever, with the 
assent and allowance of such tenne householders of the said towne 
of Tyverton aforesaide, as for the tyme beinge shall be most in the 
subsidie bookes of our sovereigne Lady the Queenes majesty and 
of her successors for ever, and not otherwise. And my meaning 
and desier is, that they, from tyme to tyme, will make choice of 
the children of such forreyners as are of honest reputation and 
feare God, without regarding the riche above or more than the 
poore ; and that there shall bee noe scholar bee or continue in 
the said schoole, as a scholer, but boyes, and none above the age 
of eighteen yeares or under the age of sixe yeares, and none 
under a grammar scholer." 

The Master was to have the use of the buildings " and yearely 
for ever fiftie poundes," while the usher had to be content with 
" one chamber to himself only in the saide buildinge " and a salary 
of twenty marks. " And my hope and desier and will is that they 
hould themselves satisfied and contente with that recompense for 


their travell, without seeking or exacting any more either of 
parents or children, which procureth favour to givers, and the 
contrarie to such as do not or cannot give ; for my meaning is, y* 
shall be a free scholl and not a schole of exaction." Blundell, 
moreover, left .2,000 for the maintenance of six students in 
divinity in the University of Oxford or Cambridge or both for 
ever. Payment is to be made " from their first corainge to the 
Universities untill they severally shall be, or by the order and 
constitution of their howses might bee, bachilers in divinitie, or 
otherwise shall be fellowes' of any howse or howses, or shall be 
beneficed in the country. And as they shall be soe, or in the like 
manner, severally preferred or promoted, or as they in the mean 
tyme shall fortune to die, my will is that their several places shall 
for ever be supplied with scholers, to be elected by the feoffees, 
or the most parte of them, with the advise of the scholemaster 
there for the tyme being, out of the saide grammer schoole of 
Tyverton, and not elsewhere, and that of the aptest and most to- 
warde in learninge, and such as of themselves or parents or other- 
wise, are lest able to mainteyne themselves in the said ministrie." 
Such was Blundell's dream, the fulfilling of which he left to his 
' righte deare and honorable friende, S r John Popham, ID, Lord 
Chiefe Justice of England.' Let us see how the latter acquitted 
himself of his trust. First, as to the edifice. The founder's wish 
was so far respected that his school was built at the south east of 
the town near the Lowman. The original intention was no doubt 
to secure the school to the inhabitants, who for various reasons 
have scarcely reaped that benefit from it which it was in Blundell's 
heart to confer. For the sake of the minority of my readers who 
have no knowledge of the locality I may here anticipate a little 
by stating that in 1880 the school was removed to Horsdon, a 
distance of one mile from the town, and the old premises were 
converted into dwelling-houses. In describing the place, there- 
fore, my narrative must partly run in the past tense. There were 
two school-rooms, the higher and the lower. Tho former was 55 
feet long by 24 wide, and the latter 43 by 24. Both wer,e floored 
and wainscotted five feet high with oak. Between them was a 
passage, leading to the usher's abode. Over the entrance to each 
school was carved in oak or chestnut " P. 1604. B." The walls 
are 18 feet in height and the roof: 38. The latter is said to have 
been copied from a chapel of Frithelstock Abbay near Torrington. 
There are two porches, one having been the entrance to the 
schools, while the other led to a dining-hall, 35 feet long, in 
which the Head-master's boarders used to take their meals. At 
the extreme end of the building towards the north was a library. 
Thus, on a front view, the eJific3 is seen to consist of three 
divisions. The total length is 170 feet and the width 30 feet. 
There is a tradition that many of the timbers were from the 
wreck of the Spanish Armada, with the relics of which, twelve or 


fourteen years before the building commenced, the coast of Corn- 
wall was strewn. Agreeably with the founder's wish a play- 
ground was formed. Hound it was built a strong wall about 10 
feet high, and it was shut in by double wooden gates pierced by a 
wicket. In 1695 these, having become much decayed, were removed, 
and there were substituted for them the present iron gates. At 
the same time the porters' lodges were erected, but Harding is in 
error in stating that the lime trees surrounding the Green on 
three sides date from this period. In reality they are not much 
more than a hundred years old. Over the outer gate were the 
following inscriptions : 

" Hospita disquirens Pallas Tritonia sedem 
Est Blundellinae percita amore Scholae. 

Ascivit sedem, placuit, cnpiensque foveri, 
Hospes, ait, Petre sis, qui mhi fautor eris."* 

" This Free Grammar School was founded at the only cost and 
charge of Mr. Peter Blundell, of this town, some time clothier. 
Ann. Dom. 1604, Aetatis Suae 81." 

Dunsford observes (1790) "few alterations have taken place 
since these buildings were first erected." In 1836 and 1837, 
however, some additions were made to the Masters' residences, 
and in 1840 the roof was surmounted by a new cupola and bell. 
The dial also was removed from its former position over the 
entrance of the upper school to where it now stands. The bell 
was originally hung in the cupola about the year 1613, and it 
has been once or twice re-cast. When the building was turned 
into private houses, the windows were lowered for the convenience 
of the occupants, an alteration which rather enhances the 
architectural effect, and the interior was so entirely re-modelled 
that few traces remain of its ancient state. 

We now return to consider the way in which Chief Justice 
Popham carried out his mission. One of his first duties was to 
appoint a head-master, and in 1601 he offered the post to Hall, 
who afterwards held the sees of Exeter and Norwich and gained a 
name as one of the most famous of English divines. Hall, how- 
over, declined it. His account of the matter which is given in 
his autobiography (vol. i. p. xvii., Oxford, 1837),. is interesting 
and deserves to be quoted : 

"There was at that time a famous school erected at Tiverton 

*These verses have been the despair of translators. Among the many 
versions which have been attempted the following perhaps conveys the 
sense as well as any, while in smoothness it far surpasses the original : 
' When wand 'ring Pallas sought some sweet retreat, 
In Blundell's school at length she fix'd her seat ; 
" Peter," she said, " beneath thy roof I'll rest 
And at thy table sit a well-pleas'd guest.' 



in Devon, and endowed with a very large pension ; whose goodly 
fabric was answerable to the reported maintenance ; the care 
whereof was, by the rich and bountiful founder, Mr. Blundell, 
cast principally upon the then Lord Chief Justice Popham. That 
faithful observer, having great interest in the master of our house 
(i.e., Emmanuel College, Cambridge), Dr. Chaderton, moved him 
earnestly to recommend some able, learned, and discreet governor 
to that weighty charge ; whose action should not need to be so 
much as his over-sight. It pleased our master, out of his good 
opinion, to tender this condition unto me ; assuring me of no 
small advantages, and no great toil ; since it was intended the 
main load of the work should be upon other shoulders. I 
apprehended the motion worth the entertaining. In that severe 
society our times were stinted ; neither was it safe or wise to 
refuse good offers. Mr. Dr. Chaderton carried me to London ; 
and there presented me to the Lord Chief Justice, with much 
testimony of approbation. The judge seemed well apaid with 
the choice. 1 promised acceptance ; he, the strength of his 
favour. No sooner had I parted from the judge, than in the 
street a messenger presented me with a letter from the right 
virtuous and worthy lady, of dear and happy memory, the Lady 
Drury, of Suffolk, tendering the JEtectory of her Halsted, then 
newly void, and very earnestly desiring me to accept of it. Dr. 
Chaderton, observing in me some change of countenance, asked 
me what the matter might be. I told him the errand and 
delivered him the letter ; beseeching his advice : which when he 
had read ' Sir ' quoth I, * methinks Q-od pulls me by the sleeve ; 
and tells me it is His will I should rather go to the east than to 
the west.' ' Nay,' he answered, ' I should rather think that 
Grod would have you go westward, for that He hath contrived 
your engagement before the tender of this letter ; which therefore 
coming too late, may receive a fair and easy answer.' To this I 
besought him to pardon my dissent ; adding that I well knew 
that divinity was the end whereto I was destined by my parents ; 
which I had so constantly proposed to myself, that I never meant 
other than to pass through this western school to it ; but I saw 
that God, who found me ready to go the farther way about, now 
called me the nearest and directest way to that sacred end. The 
good man could no further oppose ; but only pleaded the distaste, 
which would hereupon be justly taken by the Lord Chief Justice, 
whom I undertook fully to satisfy : which I did with no great 
difficulty ; commending to his lordship, in my room, my old friend 
and chamber-fellow, Mr. Cholmley ; who, finding an answerable 
acceptance, disposed himself to the place ; so as we two, who 
came together to the University, now must leave it at once." 

It would seem, however, that, notwithstanding Dr. Hall's 
diplomacy, his friend Cholmley never entered on the duties of 
the Head-master of Blundell's School. Such an excellent post, 


for it is evident that Hall at least regarded it in this light, was 
not likely to go a-begging, and, as a matter of fact, we find that 
before much tims had elapsed a Mr. Samuel Bubler, who had held 
a similar appointment elsewhere, became Master of the school at 
Tiverton and " brought his scholars with him." From what 
quarter exactly Mr. Butler hailed, is not clear. It seems probable, 
however, that he came from Barnstaple, for in 1600 a Samuel 
Butler was appointed Master of the Grammar School there. 
Appended to his name is the not very complimentary 
note: "Inhibited from teaching 'till he shows by what authority 
he teaches; December, 160 1." Among Butler's pupils was a boy who 
was destined to shine as perhaps the greatest theologian of the 
English Church Bishop Bull. In his Life by Nelson is to be 
found the following notice of the bishop's early years : 

" When he (i.e. Dr. Bull) was fit to receive the first rudiments 
of learning he was placed in a Grammar School at Wells, where 
he continued not long ; but by the care of his guardians was to 
great advantage removed to the Free School of Tiverton in Devon- 
shire, of the greatest note of any in the West of England. This 
school was founded by Mr. Peter Blundell, a clothier, in the year 
1604, with a very good maintenance for a School-master and 
Usher, and is not more considerable for its liberal endowments 
than it is for its stately and noble structure. There are one 
hundred and fifty of the foundation and if that number cannot 
be supplied from the town and parish of Tiverton itself, which 
seldom furnisheth above half so many, then the adjacent places 
have the advantage of providing the rest, for the scholars gener- 
ally rather exceed that fall short of the prescribed complement. 
It hath the privilege of sending two Fellows and two Scholars to 
Balliol College in Oxford, and the same number of both to Sidney 
College in Cambridge, which are chosen here, and incorporated 
afterwards in the respective societies in the Universities. An 
encouragement wisely contrived to preserve the school in honour 
and reputation, and experience confirmeth the observation ; for 
it not only flourisheth at present, but hath made the most con- 
siderable figure of any in that parb of the nation ever since its 
first foundation. 

" Mr. Samuel Butler, the master under whom Mr. Bull was 
educated, was very eminent in his profession, an excellent 
grammarian both for Latin and Greek, diligent in his office, and 
vigilant in his care and observation of his scholars. He was 
recommended to this post by my Lord Chief Justice Popham, 
who by the will of the founder was constituted the chief director 
of everything which related to this free school ; and he was so 
considerable in his einploymsnt, that when he removed to 
Tiverton, he brought several gentlemen's sons with him : so that 
he had scholars from many parts of the Kingdom, and bred several 
persons, considerable for their learning, during the long time he 
continued master, which was above six and thirty years." 


So distinguished a Blundellian, however, as Bishop Bull, should 
not be dismissed without a few words on his after career. On 
leaving Tiverton he proceeded to Exeter College, Oxford, where 
he entered as a commoner July 10, 1648, being then hardly more 
than fourteen. The next year, on account of his refusal to take 
the commonwealth oath, he had to quit the University. His first 
charge, after taking holy orders, was the parish of St. George's, 
Bristol. In 1658 he was presented to the rectory of Suddington 
St. Mary's, near the same city ; and in 1662 the living of 
Suddington St. Peter's was given him. He was appointed 
Prebendary of Gloucester in 1678, and a year later Archdeacon 
of Llandaff. In 1705 he was consecrated Bishop of St. David's. 
He died February 17, 1709. Bull was the author of a number of 
works on theological subjects, nearly all of which were in Latin. 
Perhaps the best known are his Defensio Fidei Nicenae, and his 
Judicium Eccle-nae Calholicae, for which the thanks of the whole 
French clergy were conveyed to him through the eloquent 
Bossuet. His last work Primitive and Apostolical Tradition, &c. 
was in English. 

Among Blundell's provisions as given in his will before quoted 
was one referring to the six studentships in divinity which he 
desired to have instituted at the Universities. Within a year, 
therefore, of his friend's death, Sir John Popham nominated six 
scholars, of whom two were assigned to Balliol College, Oxford, 
and an equal number to Emmanuel and Sidney Sussex College in 
the University of Cambridge. The authorities of one of the 
Colleges, however, looked coldly on the proposal. Mr Incledon, 
who compiled some notes on the history of Blundell's School, thus 
describes the incident : 

" It happened that Emmanuel College would not accept the 
nomination, which was thereupon revoked (20th of August, 
1603), and the two scholars intended for that College were added 
to those in Sidney Sussex ; the first scholars appointed to Balliol 
were John Berry, of Tiverton,after\vards of Corpus Christi College, 
who was to have a ' pension of <15 per annum,' and Christopher 
West, both of whom received their nomination from Sir John 
Popham himself in 1602. The Berry here mentioned was 
probably the Canon Residentiary at Exeter, and born at Tiverton 
in 1580, and not the founder of the lectureship in divinity, as 
suggested in Mr. Boyce's publication, &c." 

This was an excellent beginning, but evidently some time must 
elapse before the founder's intention could receive definite 
fulfilment. A generation of Blundellians would have to be bred, 
and possibly some le^al or technical difficulties surmounted, before 
the scheme by which Blundell's School became affiliated with the 
Universities, could begin to work. It was only in 1615 that the 
first Blundell's Scholarship and Fellowship at Balliol College were 
founded, the former being obviously designed as a stepping-stone 


to the latter. During the following year two scholarships and two 

fellowships were founded at Sidney Sussex, Cambridge. In 

1676 a second scholarship and a second fellowship were founded 

at Balliol College. Shortly after this the trustees came into 

possession of fresh funds to be applied to scholarships. In 1678 

a gentleman of Uplowman, named John Ham, left 200, which 

was to be devoted to the maintenance of a Fellow and Scholar 

either at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, or Balliol College, 

Oxford. The amount, however, was not sufficient for the purpose, 

and the interest was allowed to accumulate. By the year 1732 

the trustees had a balance in hand of 2,000, of which one half 

arose from Ham's donation, while the other resulted from fines, 

rents, &c., of the estates of Peter Blundell. Again in 1783 

Benjamin Gilberd, a citizen of Exeter, but a native of Tiverton, 

assigned for the benefit of the school, and without making any 

express stipulation, as much money as, invested in the public 

funds, would produce a dividend of =60 per annum. This 

property became available in 1801, and the trustees decided that 

out of it should be founded a Gilberd 's Exhibition of the annual 

value of '20, and that a quota of 10 should go to augment the 

stipends of the four BlundelPs Scholars at Balliol and Sidney 

Sussex. In 1813 this arrangement was disturbed and the 10 

added to the Grilberd's Exhibition, making it of the value of 30 

per annum. The trustees founded also another exhibition of the 

same amount and of the same name, tenable for four years, the 

holder being required to enter some college within the next term 

after his election on pain of forfeiture. In 1806 Richard Down, 

" of the City of London, Esq." gave 700 to the Mayor and 

Burgesses of Tiverton and their successors for the support of a 

Blundell's scholar at one of the Universities, and in 1829 the 

feoffees established a fourth exhibition of '30 tenable either at 

Oxford or Cambridge. The latter was called the Blundell's 

Exhibition and seems to have been provided out of the balance of 

2,000 already mentioned. On finding themselves blest with 

this superfluous wealth the trustees appear to have taken alarm. 

An information was filed praying for the directions of the Court 

of Chancery as to the disposal of this sum, and the Master 

accorded his gracious sanction to the proposition that it should 

be employed either for increasing the stipends of the scholars on 

Blundell's foundation at Balliol and Sidney Sussex College, or for 

establishing new scholarships and exhibitions. Previous, however, 

to the year 1829 we do not hear of any scholarship or exhibition 

founded by the trustees other than those directly attributable to 

private benefactions. So far I have omitted to notice one bequest 

of this nature, because it differs from the rest owing to a peculiar 

condition attached to it. By his will dated January 10th, 1715, 

and rather strangely worded, John Newte, Hector of Tiverton, 

left certain lands, the proceeds of which were to be devoted to an 


exhibition at Balliol College. The candidates were to be pupils 
of Blundell's School, but the selection rested not with the 
trustees, but with the Rectors of Tiverton or any two of them 
for the time being. In 1857 when Her Majesty's Commissioners 
tore up with ruthless hands so many ancient customs and local 
privileges, the Blundell fellowships were reformed out of exis- 
tence. The Down and Newte Exhibitions were suffered to con- 
tinue, and five close scholarships both at Balliol College and 
Sidney Sussex were secured to the School, The pupils 
have a right to compete also for the Huish Exhibition which is 
open to the Tiverton, Exeter, Sherborne and Taunton Schools. 
Except in the last instance, the candidates are elected on the 
results of the ordinary Midsummer examinations, and there is no 
reason to doubt that the utmost fairness is shown. Formerly, 
however, a good deal depended on the attendance of the trustees. 
If they did not attend in sufficient numbers, a candidate might 
become superannuated, as in that case the election was put off 
till the following year. The candidates, instead of answering 
questions on papers, made Latin epigrams, were catechised by the 
masters in classics, and delivered^ English and Latin speeches 
before the feoffees and inhabitants of the town. The Master 
then "gave his judgment of the character of the candidates " and 
the trustees elected the scholar or exhibitioner by vote. Such a 
mode of procedure was evidently much open to abuse, and one 
is not surprised that complaints of favouritism should have arisen, 
particularly on the part of Tiverton boys or their friends, that 
their claims were ignored in favour of " forreyners." 

I shall conclude my present reference to Blundell's School by a 
passage taken from " Lorna Doone." Mr. Blackmore, the author 
of this romance, is himself an Old Blundellian, and wrote of 
course from personal recollections. The period with which he 
professes to deal is the latter part of the seventeenth century, 
and his story, so far as it relates to Hlundell's School, may possibly 
include some anachronisms ; but, he paints so vividly scenes which 
have for ever passed away, except in the memory of those who 
participated in them the old life of Blundell's that few, I 
think, will grudge the somewhat liberal space allotted to him. 


My father being of good substance, at least as we reckon in 
Exmoor, and seized in his own right, from manv generations, of 
one, and that the best and largest, of the three farms into which 
our parish is divided (or rather the cultured part thereof), he 
John Ridd, the elder, churchwarden and overseer, being a great 
admirer of learning, and well able to write his name, sent me, his 
only son, to be schooled at Tiverton, in the county of Devon. For 
the chief boast of that ancient town (next to its woollen-staple) 


is a worthy grammar-school, the largest in the West of England, 
founded and handsomely endowed in the year 1640, by Master 
Peter Blundell, of that same place, clothier. 

* * * 

But if you doubt of my having been there, because now I know 
so little, go and see my name, " John Bidd" graven on that very 
form. Forsooth from the time I was strong enough to open a 
knife and spell my name, I began to grave it in the oak, first of 
the block whereupon I sate, and then of the desk in front of it, 
according as I was promoted to one or other of them ; and there 
my grandson reads it now, at this present time of writing, and 
hath fought a boy for scoffing at it '' John Ridd his name," 
and done again in " winkeys," a mischievous but cheerful device, 
in which we took great pleasure. 

This is the manner of a " winkey," which I here set down, 
lest child of mine, or grandchild, dare to make one on my 
premises ; if he does, I shall know the mark at once, and score it 
well upon him. The scholar obtains, by prayer or price, a hand- 
ful of saltpeter, and then with the knife, wherewith he should 
rather be trying to mend his pens, what does he do but scoop a 
hole where the desk is some inches thick. This hole should be 
left with the middle exalted, and the circumfere dusr more deeply. 
Then let him fill it with saltpeter, all save the little space in the 
midst, where the boss of the wood is. Upon that boss (and it 
will be the better if a splinter of timber rise upward) he sticks the 
end of his candle of tallow or *' rat's tnil " as we called it, kindled 
and burning smoothly. Anon, as he reads by that light his 
lesson, lifting his eyes now and then it may be, the fire of candle 
lays hold of the peter with a spluttering noise and a leaping. 
Then should the pupil seize his pen, and regardless of the nib, 
stir bravely, and he will see a glow as of burning mountains, and 
a rich smoke, and sparks going merrily ; nor will it cease, if he 
stir wisely, and there be good store of peter, until the wood is 
devoured through, like the sinking of a well-shaft. Now well 
may it go with the head of a boy intent upon his primer, who 
betides to sit thereunder ! But, above all things, have good care 
to exercise this art before the master strides up to his desk, in 
the early grey of the morning. 

Other customs, no less worthy, abide in the school of Blundell, 
such as the singeing of night-caps, but though they have a 
pleasant savour, and refreshing to think of, I may not stop to 
note them, unless it be that goodly one, at the incoming of a flood. 
The school-house stands beside a stream, not very large, called 
" Lowman," which flows into the broad river of Exe about a mile 
below. This Lowman stream, although it be not fond of brawl 
and violence (in the manner of our Lynn), yet it is wont to flood 
into a mighty head of waters when the storms of rain provoke 
it ; and most of all when its little co-mate, called the " Taunto n 


brook" where I have plucked the very best cresses that ever 
man put salt on comes foaming down like a great roan horse, 
and rears at the leap of the hedge-rows. Then are the grey stone 
walls of Blundell on every side encompassed, the vale is spread 
over with looping waters, and it is a hard thing for the day-boys 
to get home to their suppers. 

And in that time, the porter, Old Cop (so-called because he hath 
copper boots to keep the wet from his stomach, and a nose of 
copper also, in right of other waters), his place is to stand at the 
gate, attending to the flood-boards, groved into one another, 
and so to watch the torrents' rise, and not be washed away, if it 
please God he may help it, and while it is only waxing, certain 
boys of deputy will watch at the stoop of the drain-holes, and be 
apt to look outside the walls, when Cop is taking a cordial. And 
in the very front of the gate, just without the archway, where 
the ground is paved most handsomely, you may see in copy 
letters done a great P.B. of white pebbles. Now, it is the custom 
and tbe law that when the invading waters, either fluxing along 
the wall from below the road-bridge or pouring sharply across the 
meadows from a cut called " Owen's ditch - " and I myself have 
seen it come both ways upon the very instant when the waxing 
element lips though it be but a single pebble of the founder's 
letters, it is in the licence of any boy, soever small and un- 
doctrined, to rush into the great school-rooms, where a score of 
masters sit heavily, and scream at the top of his voice " P.B.' 

Then, with a yell, the boys leap up. or break away from their 
standing ; they toss their caps to the black-beamed roof, and 
haply the very books after them ; and the great boys vex no 
more the small ones, and the small boys stick up to the great 
ones. One with another, hard they go, to see the gain of the 
waters and the tribulation of Cop, and are prone to kick the 
day-boys out, with words of scanty compliment. Then the 
masters look at one another, having no class to look to, and 
(boys being no more left to watch) in a manner they put their 
mouths up. With a spirited bang they close their books, and 
make invitation the one to the other for pipes and foreign 
cordials recommending the chance of the time, and the comfort 

away from cold water. 


On the 29th day of November, in the year of our Lord 1673, 
the very day when I was twelve years old, and had spent all my 
substance in sweet-meats, with which I made treat to the little 
boys till the large boys ran in and took them, we came out of 
school at five o'clock, as the rule is upon Tuesdays. According to 
custom we drove the day-boys in brave rout down the causeway 
from the school porch even to the gate where Cop has his dwell- 
ing and duty. Little it recked us and helped them less, that they 
were our founder's citizens, and haply his own grand-nephews 


(for he left no direct descendants), neither did we much enquire 
what their lineage was. For it had long been fixed among us, 
who were of the house and chambers, that these same day-boys 
were all " caddes," as we had discovered to call it, because they 
paid no groat for their schooling, and brought their own commons 
with them. In consumption of these we would help them, for 
our fare in hall fed appetite ; and while we ate their victuals we 
allowed them freely to talk with us. 

After these " charity boys " were gone, as in contumely we 
called them "If you break my bag on my head," said one, 
" whence will you dine to-morrow" and after old Cop with clang 
of iron had jammed the double gates in under the scruff-stone 
archway, whereupon are Latin verses, done in brass of small 
quality, some of us who were not hungry, and cared not for the 
supper-bell, having sucked much parliament and dumps at my 
only charges not that I ever bore much wealth, but because I 
had been thrifting it for this time of my birth we were leaning 
quite at dusk against the iron bars of the gate, some six or it may 
be seven of us, small boys all, and riot conspicuous in the closing 
of the day-light and the fog that came at eventide, else Cob 
would have rated us up the green, for he was churly to little 
boys when his wife had taken their money. There was plenty of 
room for all of us, for the gate will hold nine boys close-packed, 
unless they be fed rankly, whereof is little danger ; and now we 
were looking out on the road and wishing we could get there ; 
hoping, moreover, to see a good string of pack-horses come by, 
with troopers to protect them 

A certain boy leaning up against me would not allow my 
elbow room, and struck me very sadly in the stomach part, though 
his own was full of my parliament. And this 1 felt so unkindly 
that I smote him straightway in the face without tarrying to 
consider it, or weighing the question duly. Upon this he put 
his head down, and presented it so vehemently at the middle of my 
waistcoat, that for a minute or more my breath seemed dropped, 
as it were, from my pockets, and my life seemed to stop from 
great want of ease. Before I came to myself again, it had been 
settled for us that we should move to the " Ironing-box," as the 
triangle of turf is called where the two causeways coming from 
the school-porch and the hall-porch meet, and our fights are 
mainly celebrated ; only we must wait until the convoy of horses 
had passed, and then make a ring by candlelight, and the other 
boys would like it 

It is not a very large piece of ground in the angle of the 
causeways, but quite big enough to fight upon, especially for 
Christians, who love to be cheek by jowl at it. The great boys 
stood in a circle around, being gifted with strong privilege, and 
the little boys had leave to lie flat and look through the legs of 
the great boys. But while we were yet preparing and the candles 


hissed in the fog cloud, old Phoebe, of more than four score years, 
whose room was over the hall porch, came hobbling out, as she 
always did, to mar the joy of the conflict. No one ever heeded 
her, neither did she expect it ; but the evil was that the two 
senior boys must always lose the first round of the fight, by 
having to lead her home again. 

For the particulars of the historic encounter between Jan 
Eidd and Eobin Snell I must refer the reader to the lively and 
authentic description in " Lorna Doone." It will be noticed 
that JBlackmore has represented the school as though it were a 
kind of " Dotheboys Hall." How matters may have been in Jan 
Eidd's time I cannot say, but under the rule of Dr. Eichards 
(1797-1823) the regimen was undoubtedly very severe. In those 
days boys had to rough it to an extent which few parents now- 
adays could either realise or endure for their children. Break- 
fast consisted of a roll with a small quantity of milk ; tea was a 
repetition of this, and there was no supper. Morning ablutions 
were performed at a pump in the green. At dinner the boys 
had but one carver an old woman who used her knuckles and 
fingers as freely as her carving-knife ; and the meat was brought 
oil to the table in a condition not always agreeable to the 
olfactory organs. The hardihood of the boys was still further 
increased by the variations of temperature which they had to 
undergo ; and during the winter gales it was by no means a rare 
event for sleet to find its way through the unceiled roof and to 
drip on the boys' copy-books. At other times, all writing had to 
be intermitted because the ink in the desks was frozen. In the 
seventh chapter of " Lorna Doone " Mr. Blackmore alludes to 
an interesting ceremony called " sheep- washing," which was per- 
formed in the " Taunton pool," and in which the younger boys 
were, by rough enough methods, taught swimming. 

The foundation of a grammar school might have been deemed 
a sufficient achievement for one man's generosity and forethought, 
but evidently this was not Blundell's opinion. The benefit of his 
fellow-creatures, especially those of his native town, seems ever 
to have been uppermost in his mind, a fact which one is tempted 
to ascribe to his being a bachelor. Lord Bacon's ideas on this 
subject are well-known : ' ' Certainly, the best works and of 
greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried 
or childless men, which, both in affections and means, have 
married and endowed the public." (Essays, viii.J Besides the 
donations which he lavished on the school, Blundell bestowed 
three other gifts on the town. The first was for apprenticing 
poor boys. With his usual care Blundell in his will gives strict 
and precise directions what is to be done. " As much as the true 
Laboure and exercise of Husbandry is a thinge very profitable in 
the Common Wealthey and acceptable and pleasinge to Almightie 


God, and yet at this present in most places much neglected and 
decaied, my will and desier is that twentie powndes yearly shall 
bee ymploied and disbursed by the said Feoffees yearely for ever, 
as followeth, that is to saie, the sume of five powndes yearly for 
ever of such fower poore boys born and for the most part brought 
up in the saide Towne or Parish of Tiverton, of the age of fifteen 
years or under, as to the said tenne Inhabitants for the tyme 
being for ever shall be thought meetest, whose parents shall be 
dwellinge in the saide Towne or Parrish, to be bounde to serve 
in Husbandry for seaven yeares or upwards, the saide five 
powndes to be delivered to the Master he shall soe serve, with 
allowance to be taken by the saide Clarke for repayment as 
followeth, that is to saie, to the servante yf the same seaven 
yeares service or more bee by him duely and truely done with the 
saide Master or his Assignes. And yf the same bee not done 
accordingly in the servants default, in every such case the same 
five powndes to be repaid and bestowed towards the relief of poor 
Householders in Tiverton Towne aforesaid, at the discreation of 
the said tenne inhabitants or the most parte of them ; and yf the 
same service bee in parte done accordingly, and then the said 
servante happen to die in the saide service within the tyme 
agreed of, then to goe to the Executors and Assignes of the 
same servante, with that I doubte not but the master of the 
same servante, will, dureing the tyme he hath the said monie, 
ymploye the same to some good and godly uses for the said 
Servant's benefitt, as my meaning is. And if in the saide parish 
of Tyverton there shall not yearly goe forth in the service of 
Husbandry soe many as aforesaide, then the want to bee from 
tyme to tyme of forreyners of and in other places adjoining as to 
the said feoffees or the moste part of them shall be thoughte 
meete, the same order and course to be obtained of the same 
forreyners as is before limited of the others. And my will and 
meaninge is that the said feoffees for the tyme beinge, or the 
most parte of them shall from tyme to tyme, make abolish and 
set down such Orders, Laws, and directions, both touching the 
Schole and matters of Husbandry, and all matters and circum- 
stances thereof." 

In harmony with these directions every Easter Monday four 
poor boys used to be bound apprentice to farmers. The custom 
seems to have been observed down to the year 1841. About 
this time the apprenticeship system as applied to agricultural 
pursuits went out of fashion. The apprentices were bound 
by parish indentures until they were twenty one, when they 
received from their master a sum of 5 with interest, for which 
he had previously given a bond on being paid that amount by 
the trustees. 

Blundell's second gift was " fower hundred powndes to the 
marriage of twentie poor maydes in Tiverton, borne there, and to 


them that their fathers have dwelled tenne years in Tyverton 
Towne, to the discression of my Executors equally to be divided 
amongst them." Thirdly and lastly he gave " to the Maior, 
Bailiffs, and Cominalty of the Citie of Exon the sume of nyne 
hundred powndes." Of this 500 was to be devoted to poor 
artisans of the City of Exeter. " And touchinge the saide four 
hundred pounds, residue of the said stocke of nine hundred 
pounds, the saide Maior, Bailiffs, and Cominalty, for the time 
being, or the most parte of them as aforesaid, shall also on the 
Wensdaie next after the feast of St. Michael th' Archangell 
alwaies forever put forth the same fower hundred powndes alsoe 
forever untill the said Wensdaie nexte before the fowerthe feast 
of St. Michael, that is to saie, for fower years lacking six daies, as 
aforesaid to twenty Artificers, Weavers, and Tuckers of the 
said towne of Tyverton, and in default of such, to others there of 
other honest trades and misteries of honest name and reporte 
and reputation willing to take the same, being also dwellers and 
householders in the said towne of Tyverton, that is to wit, to 
each of them twentie poundes, each of them taking such good 
and sufficient assurance as well for repayment of the pryncipal, 
and for and after the rate of eighte poundes by the yeare forever 
for the said fower hundred poundes, &c." The amount was to 
be repaid " on the Wensdaie next before the said fowerthe feaste 
of St. Michael th' Archangell next after the putting forthe 
thereof as aforesaid, between the howres of one and fower of the 
clocke in the afternoon."* 

I have quoted so much of Peter Blundell's will that the reader 
may like to see the ending. It is as follows : " Subscribed the 
day and year first above written, in the presence of those whose 
names are subscribed to this my last will, which contayneth in all 
fourteene sheets of paper. I say fourteen sheets of paper 
written by me Peter Blundells owne hand writinge. 


Blundell had a nephew, Eobert Chilcot or Corny n, son of 
Eleanor his only sister, who was married to John Chilcot, of 
Fairby. Robert was his uncle's clerk, whence in no disparaging 
sense he is often termed a " servant." He succeeded to Blundell's 
business and realised a large fortune. Chilcot did not live at 
Tiverton, but at Isleworth in Middlesex, and there in all proba- 
bility he died in 1609. He had ere this been appointed by 
Blundell in his will as one of the overseers of his property, and it 
has been believed by some that the money with which Chilcot's 
School was erected was left for that purpose by his uncle. If so, 
there is no acknowledgment of the circumstance in Chilcot's 

* The interest of this money is now supplied to the Infirmary. I have 
been unable to find what has become of the two other legacies. 



will. This instrument was executed on the 25th of August, 1609, 
and contains some quaint provisions. Thus the schoolmaster was 
to be a celibate : "No married man or any that hath any childe or 
children shall at any time be schoolmaster in the saide schoole ; " 
and in the same inexorable way he lays down that " no maydes or 
girls shall be taught in this schoole." The number of scholars was 
not to exceed a hundred, but if less than a hundred boys from the 
town and parish attended the school, that number might be made 
up by " foreigners." If, on the other hand, there were in the school 
more than a hundred " men children," natives of the place, then the 
schoolmaster with the consent of the feoffees was to " put out of the 
saide schoole such men's children as there parents are best able to 
paye for there Schooling in another place." The master was to 
be appointed by the feoffees " with the allowance of the Bishoppe 
of the Diocesse for the time being," and he was to have as his 
salary ,20. With this he was expected to be satisfied, his only 
perquisite being a fee of sixpence from each scholar for register- 
ing his name. The master had, of course, the use of the school- 
house, and this was no doubt one of the reasons why so many of 
the teachers transgressed Chilcot's strict injunctions as to 
marriage. It appears to have been the rule for the feoffees to 
elect single men to the office, and not to interfere with them if in 
the exercise of their own discretion they afterwards became 
married. To go back to the will the sum of 400 was to be 
spent on the building and an annuity of 90 was left for the 
maintenance of the school. 3 a year was to be paid to a " perfect 
clerke " for keeping the accounts of the charity. The school was 
to be free and the pupils taught " onely to read englishe and to 
write." The original endowment has been somewhat increased by 
later donations. Thus in 1790 Benjamin Gilberd, already men- 
tioned as one of the benefactors of Blundell's School, bequeathed 
300 to Chilcot's foundation. This was invested in consols, and 
the interest was added to the master's salary. Again, in 1802 
Richard Davis gave by will 50, the interest of which was to be 
employed in the purchase of books for the six most deserving boys. 
The actual building was erected in 1611. The style is 
Elizabethan, and as the school fortunately escaped in the fires of 
1612, 1731, and 1794, it has preserved its ancient features intact. 
Over the gate of the building is the inscription : 

Robert Comin als 
Chilcot, borne in 
this Towne, founded 
this Free English 
Schoole, and indow d 
it witn maintenanc 6 
for ever, Anno 
Dni 1611 


We come now to an event of the highest importance. Hitherto 
the town had been under the rule of the Portreeve, who, as we 
have seen, was a subordinate of the Lord of the Manor. This 
arrangement answered very well so long as Tiverton was com- 
paratively small, and, so to speak, a mere appanage of the Castle. 
.But now with increasing prosperity and a population which in 
sixty years had nearly trebled, such a mode of government was 
felt to be not merely an anachronism, but a grave inconvenience. 
This fact had been emphasised in the recent fire. Though the 
inhabitants generally may have been guilty of great negligence 
in not taking adequate precautions against such a calamity, 
especially after their previous warning, still the accident must be 
largely attributed to the want of properly constituted authorities, 
whose business it should be to frame suitable bye-laws and to see 
that they were duly carried out. In the year 1615 Tiverton had 
a population of 6,000 souls and the total value of the property 
was estimated at .350,000. As a matter both of interest and 
dignity, therefore, it was felt that a change should be made. 
The inhabitants petitioned for a Charter. The claim being 
eminently reasonable, the King, James I., found no difficulty in 
acceding to it. A.mong other reasons assigned in the preamble 
it is stated that Tiverton was an ancient town and that the 
poorer people " flying slothfulness and idleness (being the root of 
all evil) " devoted themselves to the making of cloth, whereby 
they escaped the penalties of the law and added considerably to 
the revenue. Moreover, it seems, King James had been credibly 
informed that the inhabitants " to their perpetual praise and 
glory " had performed " divers good and acceptable services both 
to himself and his progenitors and predecessors," though in what 
these services consisted, he has been graciously pleased to with- 
hold. On the grounds, therefore, of public policy and private 
gratitude he vouchsafed " to make, ordain, constitute and create 
the same inhabitants into one body corporate and politic, by 
the name of Mayor and Burgesses of the town and parish of 

Here I must interpose a remark both as to what this measure 
did signify and what it did not signify. Many of my readers will 
no doubt have formed their ideas of municipal government on 
existing institutions, but in the present instance these are 
hardly a safe guide. What the first charter granted by James I. 
and for that matter the second and third charters also did 
mean was that the town was to be under local officials vested with 
power and responsibility. It did not mean representation. The 
first appointments were made by the Crown and all subsequent 
ones by co-optation. So far, therefore, from having a voice in 
their own affairs, the bulk of the inhabitants were no better off 
than they were before, and the "Eadical" portion of the community, 
as we shall see, regarded their exclusion as a first-rate grievance. 



And indeed one does not need to be strongly tinged with Eadicalism 
to perceive that this close corporation was not the happiest con- 
trivance for the good of the town. If any one thinks otherwise, 
he may turn back to my chapter on mediaeval Tiverton, where 
the way in which the corporators kept guard over the local 
charities receives painful illustration. However, I am omitting to 
state the actual constitution of the body. First of all there was 
the Mayor, and under him were twelve " capital burgesses " and 
twelve assistants, who together formed the Common Council. The 
Mayor was elected annually, on the Tuesday after the feast of St. 
Bartholomew, between nine and twelve in the morning, and he 
was sworn a fortnight later before the Mayor, his predecessor, and 
the capital and assistant burgesses. Should the Mayor happen to 
die, one of the capital burgesses was chosen in his stead by the 
majority of the Council, and after being sworn before ten or more 
of the members, held office for the remainder of the year. The 
chief burgesses and assistants before entering on their duties were 
sworn before the Mayor. Their appointments were for life, but 
misconduct subjected the offender to removal. If a capital 
burgess died, the vacancy was supplied by one of the assistants, while 
on the death or removal of an assistant, the Mayor and Council 
were empowered to elect one of the discreetest and honestest 
inhabitants of the town and parish in his place. It was not 
altogether a matter of choice whether one became Mayor, capital 
burgess, or assistant, for any one refusing to act in these 
capacities was liable to a fine, and he was committed to gaol until 
the fine was paid. The Mayor and Council were permitted to 
make statutes and ordinances for the government of the town and 
impose punishments in the shape of fines and imprisonment. It 
was stipulated, however, that their statutes, fines, pains, and 
penalties should be reasonable, and not contrary to law. There 
was also a Recorder, and a Town Clerk, as well as a Deputy 
Recorder, and all three were sworn before the Mayor. The 
Recorder was a justice of the peace in the town and parish, as was 
also the Mayor for one whole year after his term of office. The 
Mayor, Recorder, and Justice, or any two of them, might hold 
sessions in any county of England for the purpose of investigating 
such crimes and misdemeanours as were committed within the 
town and parish, and might punish the offenders, but their powers 
did not extend to cases of felony. All felons and persons sus- 
pected of felony were sent to the county gaol. It was provided 
in the charter that the Mayor and burgesses should have a prison 
for offenders, or such as should be arrested, and that the Mayor 
should be the keeper of the prison. " A court of record " was to 
be held every Tuesday fortnight by the Mayor and Recorder, or 
Deputy Recorder, for dealing with debts, trespasses, and personal 
actions, within the town and parish, for any sum not exceeding 
100 ; and the defendants might be compelled to plead either by 


arrest of their persons or seizure of their goods and chattels. The 
latter duty devolved on the Sergeants-at-Mace, two of whom, 
appointed by the Mayor, attended on him like a small body-guard 
and were continued during his will and pleasure. They carried 
maces of gold or silver engraven with the king's arms. Without 
leave of the Mayor no Sheriff of the county of Devon or any 
bailiff or minister of the king might enter the town or parish or 
the liberties thereof, to execute anything belonging to their office. 
On the other hand warrants directed to the Sergeants-at-Mace 
could only be executed within the liberties and precincts. Accord- 
ing to Martin Dunsford the Sergeants-at-Mace were entitled to 
10s. 8d. for every arrest beyond what he calls the out-bounds of 
the town. These limits are stated to have been as follows : 

LOWMAW BRIDGE ; and no further up Elmore than opposite and 
adjoining Lowman-bridge. 

Great gutter at the town's end. 

Red gate at the head of Frog (i.e., Castle) Street, which is adjoining 
the town-leat. 


Barnstaple Inn at the higher end of Westexe. 

A gutter at the lower end of Westexe, which comes from Mr. Hodge's 
court, just above Mr. Gorton's mills. 

N.B. Well-brook and the leat are not in the town. 

Some of these land-marks have unfortunately disappeared, but it 
is possible to gain from this statement a very fair notion of what 
was considered the " town," as distinct from the parish, of 

Finally, by the charter of 1615, the Mayor and Burgesses were 
privileged to return two members to Parliament. In connexion 
with the present agitation for paid members the following passage 
will be read with interest : " And the same Burgesses so elected 
and chosen, we will have them to be present and continue at the 
Parliament of us, our heirs and successors, at the costs and charges 
of the aforesaid Mayor and Burgesses of the town and parish 
aforesaid for the time being, and their successors, during the 
time that such Parliament shall happen to be kept, in like manner 
and form as other Burgesses of the Parliament, for any other 
places, cities, boroughs, or towns whatsoever within our Kingdom 
of England, they do or have used to do." 

The first Mayor was Richard Hill, alias Spurway, a merchant of 
Tiverton belonging to the younger branch of a family which had 
been domiciled at Oakford since the time of Henry II. It is 
possible that he lived in Barrington-street, where there was 
formerly an ancient building called " Spurway's house." For various 
reasons Richard Hill is an interesting personage. It appears that 
in January, 1583, he married Wilmot, second daughter of John 
Comin or Chilcot, who was sister to the founder of Chilcot's 
School and niece to Peter Blundell. He was a great benefactor of 


the town, and his will, dated 17th July, 1630, contains this curious 
item : " And whereas I have a house in St. Andrew's street, the 
which I have granted unto the Mayor and Burgesses of Tiverton 
for seven years, upon condition that it be for a' house of 
Correction, my will and meaning is that they shall employ the 
said House to that use only, that if it come to good perfection 
for y e benefit of y e said Towne and parish of Tyverton, then my 
will is that it shall be and remaine unto y e said Mayor and 
Burgesses, and their successors, for ever, provided always that 
whensoever the said House shall be converted or imployed to any 
other use and not continue a house of Correction, that then my 
son and his heirs and Assignes shall take the same into his and 
their hands and custody." The house in question stood on the 
ancient site of St. Andrew's Chapel (see p. 43). Whether the 
Mayor and Burgesses at once took possession of the premises, or 
the good conduct of the inhabitants left no opportunities for 
using them as the excellent donor had contemplated, does not 
appear, but in 1650 the property was formally conveyed to the 
Corporation by William Spurway, of Oakford, gentleman, and 
Eichard, his son, they being respectively son and grandson of the 

In the charter of 1615 it is laid down that the tolls, 
stallage, picage, profits, etc., appertaining to the fairs, besides the 
rights and privileges, were to be enjoyed by the Mayor and 
Burgesses for ever, on condition of their paying an annual rent of 
five marks to the Exchequer or the receiver general of the county 
of Devon. Tiverton, however, being a recent Corporation, the 
revenues belonging to it were very small, so the authorities hit upon 
a somewhat novel expedient for " raising the wind." They erected 
in the bridewell a malt-mill worked by a horse or horses and a 
hand-mill which was worked by the prisoners. Here all the malt 
consumed by the victuallers in the parish was ground, a privilege 
for which they paid 2d. a bushel to the Mayor for the time 
being, who, it is said, applied the profits to the support and 
splendour of his office. It is not known whether the Corporation 
ever made a bye-law for this purpose, but it is believed that they, 
having through their magistrates exclusive jurisdiction, influenced 
the latter to withhold the victualler's licence, on some frivolous 
pretext or without giving any reason whatever, when the 
victualler refused to have his malt ground at the Mayor's mill, or, 
in lieu of that, to pay the Mayor or his servant 2d. a bushel for 
grinding, when he received it ground from his maltster. Subse- 
quently the mill was removed from the bridewell and given into 
the possession of an individual, known as the Mayor's tenant, who 
farmed the proceeds at an annual rent of 70. The wholesale 
brewers refused to pay the 2d. a bushel for the malt consumed by 
them. The Mayor's tenant, however, demanded the fee of the 
victualler who retailed the liquor, and who paid him for such 


quantity of malt as is commonly used in a hogshead of beer re- 
tailed at a certain price. We may add that there is nothing in 
the charters authorising the Corporation to levy money on the 
inhabitants in this way. Indeed, such conduct can only be re- 
garded as a gross interference with the liberty of the subject, but 
for nearly a century the good people of Tiverton, through ignor- 
ance of the law, tamely submitted to this abominable imposition. 
It would appear that the bridewell at one time was not a model of 
cleanliness, but a visit of the " worthy Mr. Howard" to the town 
had a marked effect on the authorities. The different apartments 
of this prison as well as of the common gaol were properly white- 
washed and both places rendered as decent as the health of the 
inmates demanded. Harding seems to imply that the original 
bridewell was demolished about the year 1780, but as Dunsford 
does not allude to the event, the supposition is almost certainly 
false. In 1844, owing to several prisoners having escaped, a new 
building was commenced on a very much larger scale, and was 
completed at a cost of 5,000 in September, 1846. As I hinted 
just now the bridewell or house of correction was distinct from 
the common prison which was situated under the Town Hall. 
The latter had two divisions, one of which was used for solitary 
confinement. In 1 829 this gaol was abolished and the prisoners 
sent to the bridewell. 

The Town Hall stood on the site of the old chapel of St. 
Thomas at the west end of Fore-street. The ezact date of its 
erection is unknown, but it probably took place soon after 1615, 
the date of the first charter of incorporation. At first the building 
seems to have been private property. It was sold by Thomas 
Prowse, clothier, to John West, gentleman, by whom in 1625 it 
was conveyed to the Mayor and Burgesses of Tiverton for a con- 
sideration of 280. The hall was approached by an open stair- 
case from a small court at the south end and contained apartments 
for the grand jury, meetings of the corporation, the constables, 
and other officers. Adjoining the Town Hall was the Mayoralty- 
room, which is described as a large elegant chamber 32 feet long, 
19| feet wide, and 14| feet high. It had three large windows 
facing Fore-street and contained portraits of George I., George II. 
and George III., which are preserved in the present Guild-hall. 
The last mentioned portrait is life-size. Under the Mayoralty 
room was the Tiverton Bank, and behind it was a private 

Nor must we forget to add a fact which was of capital im- 
portance in those convivial days that below were convenient 
cellars, while an under-ground passage made, it is believed, for 
conveying provisions, formed a connecting link between the 
mayoralty room and the Angel Inn. In 1650, and on several 
subsequent occasions, alterations were made in the buildings which 
were only finally completed in 1788. The whole was taken down 


to make room for the present structure, which was finished in 

As I may not have so favourable an opportunity again for 
alluding to the epicurean tendencies of the old Corporation, I 
may say that the members regarded it as one of their most 
important duties to provide for their mutual entertainment. My 
information does not go back to the seventeenth century, but it 
is probable that except for a short interval under the Puritan 
regime the habits of the Corporation in this particular were pretty 
much the same as at a later period. One resource was the 
Parliamentary pipe of wine, an annual present, in consideration 
of which the Corporation allowed Lord Harrowby to nominate as 
representatives of the borough his relations or personal friends. 
Every year it was the custom to " lay down " a certain supply of 
choice wines; and sundry members, chosen for their excellent 
taste and knowledge of the subject, proceeded to Exeter in a coach 
and four for the purpose of making purchases. A tradition says 
that the condition of the deputies on their return was generally 
such as to suggest that they had drunk " not wisely, but too well." 
The reader may perhaps be inclined to wonder from what quarter 
the funds were obtained. I have already mentioned the municipal 
tax on beer, but the Corporation had other sources of income 
besides that. Richard Hill or Spurway, the first Mayor of the 
town, left them in 1630 the sum of 100, and in 1636 Mr. George 
Webber bequeathed them <50 . These amounts are supposed to 
have formed part of the sum of .250 paid by the Mayor 
and Burgesses for the purchase of " Mayor's Tenement " 
at Bolham, the rent of which was devoted to the " good estate " 
of the Corporation. Then again every tradesman on com- 
mencing business had to pay a fee for the privilege. This he 
was said to do "on taking up his freedom." The bye-laws, which 
were first framed in 1626 and revised in 1767, laid down that 
" every Stranger or Foreigner not being Free of the said Town 
and Parish, who should keep any Shop or use or Exercise any 
Trade, Mistery, Occupation, or Manual Art should for every week 
forfeit 6s. 8d." This regulation prohibitive of unlicensed trading 
was probably found effectual, and, if anyone desired to exercise his 
calling without being molested, he had to come to an under- 
standing with the Corporation. Mr. John Sharland has in his 
possession a parchment, with a large seal attached, being the 
deed enfranchising John Mardon, already mentioned in the 
appendix to " The Great Fires." The following is a copy : 

Tiverton Libtas \ "W e w hose names are Subscribed, the Mayor 
in Com Devon f and Burgesses of the Town of Tiverton afore- 
said, do hereby declare our full and free 
Consent and Assent that John Merdon of the 
City of Exon, Eopemaker, be admitted and 


sworn a freeman of the Town and parish of Tiverton aforesaid, 
Such his Admission being to be entered on proper stamps for 
that purpose In Testimony whereof We have hereunto set 
our hands and Comon Seal the ffifteenth day of January Anno 
Dm. 1731. 

Naih 1 Thorne, Mayor 
Peter Bartow 
Geo Davey 
Leonard Blagdon 
Jn Norman 
Rob. Dunsford 
John Maunder 
Oliver Peard 
Jn Richards 
Walter Broad 
Clem* Govett 
Caleb Inglelt 
Geo Osmond 
TTio. Glass, Jun r 
W m Burridge 
Peter Bartow, Jun r 
Thorn 8 Heathfield 

What he paid for his privilege is not stated on the document 
itself, but is believed to have been over twenty pounds, and 
doubtless went to the expenses of the Corporation dinners. Mr. 
Sharland tells an interesting anecdote of this worthy John 
Mardon, who happens to have been his great-grandfather, so that 
we may rely on its being authentic. Mr. Mardon's premises 
were situated at the corner of Bampton-street and Gold-street, 
where he had a " rope walk." In addition to rope-making he 
carried on a large business as a seedsman and a powder and shot 
merchant. On a certain evening after dark a customer sent for 
some article, either connected with the rope or seed department, 
and Mr. Mardon sent an apprentice up the yard, at the back of 
what is now the Post Office, to fetch it. When the boy came in, 
his master asked him what he had done with the candle, " Oh, '' 
said the boy, " I forgot it ; I stick'd un in the turnip seed." Mr. 
Mardon stood aghast for a moment, then walked to the shed 
where the candle was still burning, stuck in a barrel of gunpowder ! 
Tremblingly spreading two fingers, he carefully took the candle 
gut, returned indoors, and fainted. 

To return to the Corporation. When the members of 
Parliament came down, as they usually did once a year, they were 
feted and dined by their constituents, and then it was that the 
corporators who had sons to provide for made the most of their 
opportunity, and occasionally secured very comfortable berths for 
their budding offspring. One instance is recorded in which the son 


of a member of the Tiverton Corporation was appointed governor 
of a distant island, which up to that moment he had never heard of, 
and which he certainly never visited, though he continued to 
draw a very handsome salary from the post. Considering the 
many advantages, direct and indirect, which a seat on the 
Corporation produced to the holder, the initial fee of 30 (for 
the Wine Fund) can hardly be termed exorbitant. On their 
extinction in 1835 the Corporation left few or no effects to their 
successors. They had sold the " Mayor's Tenement" and the 
furniture of the Mayoralty room, and the remainder of their 
stock of wine they distributed among their own worshipful 

In 1623 John Berry, among other benefactions, left 60 "to be 
employed towards the setting up and continuance of a Lecture in 
Divinity, in Tiverton, if the same be permitted." I have been 
unable to discover whether Berry's desire was ever carried into 
effect probably not : but as the institution was a peculiar one 
and particularly obnoxious to the High Church party, some of my 
ecclesiastically minded readers may like to hear more of it. 
Heylin, in his " Life of Laud," supplies the following account : 

" Lectures upon week dayes were not raised upon this founda- 
tion (i.e. that of the Keformation) but were brought in after- 
wards, borrowed by Traversand the rest, toward the latter end of 
Queen Elizabeth's reign, from the new fashions of Geneva ; the 
Lecturer being superadded to the Parson or Vicar, as the Doctor 
was unto the Pastor in some foreign Churches. Nor were they 
raised so much out of care and conscience, for training up the 
people in the wayes of Faith and Piety, as to advance a Faction, 
and to alienate the people's mindes from the Government and 
Forms of Worship here by law established. For these Lecturers 
having no dependence upon the Bishops, nor taking the oath of 
Canonical obedience to them, nor subscribing to the doctrine and 
established Ceremonies, made it their work to please their Patrons, 
on whose arbitrary maintenance they were planted, and conse- 
quently to carry on the Puritan interest, which their Patron 
drove at. A generation of men, neither Lay nor Clergy, having 
no place at all in the Prayers of the Church, where we find 
mention only of Bishops, Pastors and Curates ; nor being taken 
notice of in the terms of Law, as being neither Parsons nor 
Vicars ; or, to speak of them in the vulgar proverb, neither flesh, 
nor fish, nor good red herring. No creatures in the world so like 
them as the Bats or Eeremice ; being neither Birds nor Beasts, 
and yet both together. Had these men been looked upon in time, 
before their numbers were increased, and their power grown 
formidable, before the people went a madding after new inven- 
tions, most of the mischiefs which have thence ensued might 
have been prevented." 

This being the spirit in which lectureships were regarded 


by a powerful section of the Church, we can understand 
why John Berry thought it necessary to attach a con- 
dition to his bequest and to arrange for a different employment of 
the money. The rubric of the Book of Common Prayer enjoins 
one sermon or homily on the mornings of Sundays and holy-days 
for the benefit of the older people and catechising in the after- 
noon for the instruction of the children ; and something like this 
seems to have been the practice in Tiverton down to the year 1820, 
when, probably through the influence of the Evangelical move- 
ment, Sunday evening " lectures " were introduced, the preacher 
on the first occasion being the curate of Prior's Portion. 

Notices relating to local events during the early part of the 
reign of Charles I. are unfortunately very sparse. We learn, how- 
ever, from the manuscript diary of Farmer Robert Roberts, of 
North Combe, in the parish of Stockley Pomeroy, that on October 
13th, 1625, there was a great flood at Tiverton and that fifty-three 
houses collapsed. In 162b' as Exeter was suffering from the 
plague, the Assizes were held at Blundell's School, Tiverton. 
According to Farmer Roberts, the name of the Judge was Dinham, 
and one Master Fry was High Sheriff of Devon. A Dutch- 
man having been convicted of robbery and a Chevithorne 
man, named Comins, of sheep-stealing, both were hanged 
at White-down, about two miles on the road to Cullompton. 
The local pronunciation of the word " White-down " is 
" Whid-down, " and the place was supposed to be haunted. Even 
within the recollection of persons still living, people wereafraid 
to pass the spot, which certainly looks desolate enough, after 
nightfall ; and horses, it was said, would instinctively start and 
plunge on approaching the fatal cross-road. 

The following report of a magisterial enquiry was discovered 
some years ago by Mr. H. S. Grill. 

The exaicon (examination) of John Staddon, of Tyverton, in 
the Countie of Devon, ffuller. Taken before Peter Blundell, 
gent., Maior of the Towne and Parrishe of Tyverton, aforesaid, 
and Vallentyne Hartnoll, gent., two of the Kinges Majesties 
Justices of the peace within the said towne and parisshe, the 
Three and Twentieth daie of November, 1627. 

The exaiate (examinate) confesseth that on Mondaie last was a 
month he sould threescore and two pounds of ridgewasht wool to 
one Thomas Cornishe, of Tyverton, aforesaide, Clothier, for 
eleven pence and three farthings a pound. 

And being demanded where he had the same woole, sayeth that 
he bought part of the same woole about six weeks since in the 
Markett of Tyverton aforesaid, for eleven pence and three, but 
howe muche he knoweth not, and where he had the rest of the 
saide woole he refuseth to discover. 


The exaiabe (exanimate*) further confesseth that after he had 
the same woole, and by all the tyme before he sould it unto the 
said Thomas Cornishe, he left the same in his father's woodhouse, 
and hid it under strawe there. 


In conclusion, Hewett's MS. contains this entry: " 1630, John 
Francis, of Chevithorne, Esq., he was the first person that did 
keep a coache in this parish of Tiverton." 



Mayor of the Towne and Parish of Tiverton in ye County of Devon and 
the Capitall Burgesses and Assistants of the said Towne and Parish 
being the common Counsell there, the ffoure and Twentyeth Day of 
March Anno Domini 1627. In The Third Year of the Reign of our 
Sovereign Lord Charles by the grace of God of England, Scotland, 
and ffrance and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith &c, And the Same 
day and year aforesaid Examine i and approued by Sr John Walter Kt, 
Lord Chief Barron of the Court of the Exchequer, and Sr John Dynham 
Kt one of ye Barrens of the same Court, the Justices of Assize of and for 
the said County of Devon according to the forme of the statute made 
and Provided. 

IMPRIMIS If any Merchant. Tradesman, or artificer, dwelling or in- 
habiting within the prcints of this Liberty shall open or cause to be opened 
any Shop Windows within ye Towne of Tivertou to Sell or put to Sale 
any goods or Wares vpon the Lords day, he shall forfeit & pay for every 
time so doing Two Shillinges and ffoure pence, to be levyed by distress to 
be taken of ye G-oods and chattels of ye offender or offenders. 

ITEM If any Butcher or Victuler within the said Towne or Parish of 
Tiverton by himselfe or his Servante shall Kill any Beast vpon the 
Lords Day with ye intent to put ye same to Sale, he shall fforfeit and 
pay for every Bullock ffive Shillings, and so for every other Beast so 
killed, to be levied as aforesaid. 

ITEM It is also agreed, ordered, and established that if any of the Capitall 
Burgesses or Assistants here being by the Mayor's Command Summon'd 
to ye Election of y e Mayor of ye said Towne and Parrish do make Default 
at such Election to be made, haueing no reasonable excuse for his absence, 
That every person so offending contrary to this Act and ordinance shall 
forfeit for every Default twenty Shillinges, to be levied of his goodes and 
chatties by way of distress as aforesaid. 

ITEM It is ffurther agreed and ordain'd that if any of y e Capitall 
Burgesses or Assistants shall not attend here vpon Summons given to 
attend by the Mayor here for ye time being at ye Guild Hall here or any 
other Convenient place within the said Towne and parrish appoiuted by 
ye Mayor for the time being, either for ye Service of his Majtie O r for 
inattars or business touching ye Estate and welfare of this Towne and 


Parrish and ye good Government of y e Fame, but do make default, 
having no reasonable excuse to ye contrary, he shall forfeit and lose for 
every such default three Shillings ffoure Pence, to be levied of his goods 
by distress aforesaid. 

ITEM To ye intent that ye Capitall Burgesses and Assistants here for 
ye time being may hereafter be seen in decent and Comly Habit accord- 
ing to their degree and Calling, It is ordered, decreed, and concluded vpon 
that every one of ye said Burgesses and Assistants here vpon all Sundays 
and at all other the principall festivall daies in ye year and at all other 
their Solemn and Special Assemblies vse and ware a decent and Comly 
GOWNE and that every one of y e Said ffellowship doing to ye contrary 
to be there Sensured by ye Mayor and Capitall Burgesses or ye greater 
part of them for ye time being, whereof ye Mayor for the time being, 
shalle every one fforfeit and lose for every Such default Three 
Shillings and ffoure Pence, to be levied of his goods by distress. 

ITEM It is further ordered, ordained, and agreed that no inhabitant or 
dweller within the said Towne and Parish shall accept recieue, entertaine 
or take into his or her house or houses or any part thereof any vnder 
tennant or Inmate, or Suffer more ffamilies or households but his owne 
to be in his or her house without ye consent and agreement of ye Mayor 
and Capitall Burgesses here, or ye greater part of them for ye time being, 
vpon paine to fforfeit Ten Shilliuges for every Moneth that any Such so 
accepted, receiued & taken vndertennant, inmate, or family as aforesaid 
contrary to this agreement Shall dwell or inhabit in any Such house or 
houses vntil such vndertennant, inmate, or family as aforesaid be againe 
put away, Provided that this order and agreement do Extend only against 
ye acceptance, receipt, and taking of Strangers and fforainers. 

ITEM It is further ordered and agreed that no Inhabitant or reseant 
within ye said Towne or parish or any other person or persons shall 
within this Towne or parish out of ye Burrough build, or erect, or cause 
to be made, builded, or erected any manner of cottage for habitation or 
dwelling, nor con/ert or ordaine any building or houseing made or here- 
after to be made to be vsed as a Cottage for habitation or Dwelling or 
maintaine, Convert, or vphold any such Cottage Erected or ordained as 
aforesaid for habitation and dwelling without ye Consent or agreement 
of ye Mayor and Capitall Burgesses here for ye Time Being, vpon paine 
that every such offender against this ordinance shall for every such 
making, Building, erecting, or Converting & ordaining as aforesaid pay 
ffive Poun.les & for eury Moneth that Such Cottage shalbe by him or 
them upholden, maintained, and continued Twenty Shillinges. 

ITEM It is likewise further ordered, ordained, and agreed vpon by y 
Generel Assent that no Inhabitant or dweller within the saiil Towne or 
any other person or persons shall within this Towne or parish 
henceforth accept, receive, or take to keep for a more or less time what- 
soever either to nurse or table any Bastard or Bastards Childe or 
Children, or any other Childe or Children not borne within ye said Towne 
or parish whch shall be likely in ye judgemt of ye Mayor for ye Time 
being to be Chargeable to ye said Parrish without good Securyty alowed 
by ye Mayor first giuen to discharge the said parish of Tiverton of all 
damage that may happen or accrue to them by or in respect of such 
Childe or Children, or without ye Consent or agreement of ye Mayor, 
Justices, or Capitall Burgesses here for ye time being therevnto first had, 
procured, and obtained, vpon paine to forfeit and pay for every such 
Bastard or Bastards Childe or Children so taken and kept contrary to 
the intent and true meaning of this ordinance ffourtye Shillings for 
every Moneth that he or they shall so take and keep any such Bastard or 
Childe contrary to y e purport and true meaning of this order. 


ITEM It is ffurther ordered that ye Sonne of any ffreeman being a 
Merchant, Haberdasher, ffeltmaker, or retailer of wares in any Kind of 
Merchandise whatsoever not being the Eldest Sonne shall pay for his 
ffreedom at or before he sell or proffer anything of his trade to be sold 
within ye Towne of Tiverton aforesaid Six Pence, and every such Person 
refuseing the same and so Selling for every moneth's Default of pay- 
ment shall fforfeit Two Shillings, to be levied by way of Distress of the 
goods and Chatties of ye offenders. 

ITEM It is ffurther ordered that every apprentice of every such 
ffreeman made as aforesaid, being a Merchant, Mercer, Haberdasher, 
ffeltmaker, or retailer of wares in any kind of merchandise wtsoever 
(having served Seven Years) shall pay before he Sell or proffer any wares 
to be Sould as before Sixpence for ye Inrolling of his Name, vpon paine 
to forfeit Twelve Pence for every Moneth's Default or non paymt of ye 
said Sunie of Six pence, to be levied as aforesaid. 

ITEM That the Son or Apprentice of any ffreeman, having served 
Seven Yeares, being a Tannar, Shoomaker, Glover, Smith, Sadler, weaver, 
white Tawer, Leatherman or any such like handy-craftsman shall pay 
ffor his ffreedom Six Pence before he sell or proffer any commodities to 
be Sold, vpon paine of Twelve Pence for every Moneths default or non- 
payment of ye said Summe of Six Pence, to be levied as aforesaid. 

ITEM If any one being the Sonne of any ffreeman shall claime a 
ffreedome within this Towne or parrish professing none of the former 
Trades or Sciences before spoken of, he shall pay for his freedoms Two 
Shillings Six Pence, vpon paine to forfeit ffiue Shillings, to be levied as 

ITEM That if anyone being a Stranger and in the Towne inhabiting 
and not free shall desire to be made free, it shalbe done by the Consent 
of the Mayor and Burgesses and Assistantes there for the time being, or 
y e greatest Number of them, or otherwise he shall not be ffree. 

ITEM, that every ffreeman or person being made ffree and having his 
name registered in the Common Book by the Town Clarke and being 
particularly Summon'd by the Mayor or ye Sergeants or others being the 
knowne officers or officer of ye Towne or Parish or any other person 
authoriz'd by ye Mayor in writing under his hand, to appear or be at any 
Court or Sessions of ye Peace to be holdenf or or within the said Libbertie, 
or at any publick meeting of the said Mayor and Burgesses for mattars 
concerning ye publick good of the said Towne, if he then inhabit within 
the said Towne or parish, shall make his personall appearance at every 
such general sessions of ye peace to be holden within and for this 
Towne and Parish being openly made knowne, or other public Meeting 
for ye cause aforesaid, and having no reasonable cause of excuse which 
shalbe alowed by the Mayor or greater part of y e Capital Burgesses and 
Assistants then present, vpon paine of Three Shillinges and ffoure pence 
to be fforfeited by every severall ffreeman for every such default, to be 
levied as aforesaid. 

ITEM It is further ordered that if any Inhabitant or dweller within 
ye Prycincts of this Towne shall permit or suffer his or her Hoggs or 
Piggs, or any of them, wilfully and negligently to goe abroad in ye streets 
of the Towne or in the Churchyard of ye said Towne, that then every 
such inhabitant or dweller being owner of such Hoggs or Piggs shall 
fforfeit and pay for every time for every such Ho^g and Pigg so straying, 
wandering, or going abroad as aforesaid, Three Pence to be levied as 

ITEM It is further ordered and established by ye general consent that 
if any Inhabitant or dweller within the Pcincta of this Liberty shall at 


any time hereafter by him or her selfe or his or their Servant or Ser- 
vants wash any Clothes, wooll, or any other thing such may give offence 
in ye Towne lake wch floweth or runneth through ye Streets of ye said 
Towne, or so nere therevnto as may give cause of offence in abusing or 
annoing ye said water, or shall suffer his or their dye water to runne, 
flow, or come into any. Street within ye said Towne, that then every such 
Person so offending shall forfeit and pay for every time so therein 
offending Three Shillings and f oure Pence, to be levied as aforesaid. 

ITEM It is further ordered , agreed, and ordained that if any Inhabitant 
or dweller within ye pcincts of this Liberty shall hereafter divert or 
turne the said Towne lake out of his right and ancient course or shall 
suffer ye Breast channel or Banks of ye said Towne lake adjoyning 
thereunto, lying or being before or adjoining to his or her Dwelling 
house or ground to be ruinous or in decay, whereby the said water course 
or any part thereof shall runne out of his ancient course, and shall not 
Sufficiently repair and amend the same within Ten dayes next after 
notice thereof to him, her, or them given by ye Said Mayor appointed, 
that then every such Inhabitant for so doing and suffering, and not re- 
pairing and mending after notice as aforesaid, shall fforfeit and pay for 
every such offence Six Shillings Eight Pence. 

ITEM It is further ordered and agreed that every inhabitant or 
dweller within ye pcincts of this Liberty shall from henceforth every 
Tuesday in ye forenoon and every Saturday in ye afternoon cause 
ye Street lying or being before his or her dwelling house, Tost (?) or 
ground within ye said Towne of Tiverton, by all the length or breadth 
of his house or ground to ye middle of ye Street, to be clean swept and 
cleansed and shall not at any time from henceforth suffer any Dounge, 
dirt, soyle, or any other noisome thing to lye in ye same Street before 
his or her dwelling house or ground, but shall remove or carry the same 
within one day next after notice hereof being given by the Mayor or 
any officer by ye said Mayor Appointed, vpon paine to forfeit or Jose for 
every Such offence Twelve Pence, to be levied as aforesaid. 

ITEM It is further ordered and established that none of ye Capitall 
Burgesses or Assistants of ye said Corporation shall in their publick 
meetings and assemblys speak to eveiy mattar to be propounded in 
ye said Solemn assemblies but uncouered, to induce a better respect to 
their solemn assemblies and meetings, tending to ye good Government 
of y e Corporation, and also that no person then present do interrup the 
Mayor, Recorder, or his deputie, or any other of ye Burgesses & Assistants 
Dureing the time of their discourse to ye Mattars in question, vpon 
paine to fforfeit & lose for every time so doing to ye Contrary hereof 
Twelue pence to be levied as aforesaid. 

ITEM It is ffurther ordered, agreed, and established for ye avoiding 
of ye Danger of Fire that if any Dyer, Clothier, Colour Maker, Baker or 
Brewer dwelling or inhabiting within ye Towne & parish of Tiverton 
shall lay, Set, or put, or suffer to lie or be placed in ye Same Roome 
of his or her dwelling house in Tiverton aforesaid, where his or her oven 
or ffurnace now is, or standeth, or hereafer shall be or stand, vpon any 
such oven or ffurnace any ffurse, wood, or other fewell except only such 
as there shalbe present vse for ye same to burne, that then every such 
inhabitant so offending for every time that he or she shall so lay, set, or 
put, or suffer such wood, ffurse, or other ffewell to lie or be in such of 
his or her Room or Roomes as aforesaid, contrary to the true meaning 
of this Order or ordinance, shall fforfeit. lose, and pay the sume of six 
shillings eight pence, to be levied by distress, as aforesaid. 

And for ye better pvencon therof it shalbe lawf ull for ye Mayor for 
ye Time being by his officers to make search in any man's house within 


ye said Towne of Tiverton, if any inhabitant do offend therein, when & 
so often as he shall think ffit. 

ITEM It is further ordered and established that every inhabitant 
within ye said Towne of Tiverton shall from Time to time & so often as 
it shall be needfull Sufficiently repair and maintaine by all the length 
& breadth of his house vnto ye middest of ye streets the PAUEMENT 
of the Street, lying before his or her dwelling house or ground in ye said 
Towne, vpon pain to forfeit and pay for every week that the same stialbe 
decayed and not amended, after ten days' warning given by the Mayor or 
his officer, Twelve pence, to be levied by distress as aforesaid. 

ITEM It is further ordered and established that no Inhabitant 
within ye said Towne or parish shall hereafter wth ffire heat any wollen 
or other cloth at any Rack or Racks standing or being within eighty 
ffoot of any Dwelling or other house, or any Rick, Mow, or Stack of 
ffurse, feme, wood. Hay, or Corne, or any mud wall which shalbe 
Thatched with Reed or Straw on ye top of ye Said Wall within the Said 
Towne or parish, under pain of Three t-hillings ffoure pence to be 
fforfeited and lost for every time So doing. 

ITEM It is further ordered and established that no inhabitant 
within ye said Towne of Tiverton shall BREW in ye night time within 
his or her dwelling house lying in ye Same Towne of Tiverton vnless it 
be before Eight of ye Clock at neight or after Three of ye Clock in 
ye Morning, vpon pain to forfeit and lose for every time so doing Six 
Shillings Eight pence, to be levied asjaforesaid. 

ITEM It is further ordered, established, and agreed that if any Person 
inhabiting or resident within the said Towne being aboue the Age 
of Eighteen Yeares & vnder the Age of Threescore shall vpon 
command given them by the Mayor, Justices, Constables, or Tything 
men of the Saide Towne, parish refuse to WATCH, or being 
appointed therevnto shall depart from his place of watching be- 
fore the time Limitted Such pson, or psons, so refuseing or de- 
parting, haveing no lawfull cause of excuse to be allowed by ye 
Mayor for ye Time being ffor every such refusal or departure shall 
fforfeit two Shillings and Six pence. 

ITEM It is further ordered, established and agreed, for the better relief 
and setting the POO R on work, and for ye Better Incourgment of them 
to worke, that no person inhabiting or residing within the said Towne, 
parish Shall pay or satisfy any Spinster or Carder with any Wares, 
Victualls, or other Commodities but only with ready Money vpon paine 
to fforfeit for every offence against this ordinance ffiue Shillings. 

ITEM It is ffurther ordered, established, and agreed if any person that 
is SUMMON'D to appear at ye Sessions of ye peace for this Towne 
Parish to serue in ye GRAND JURY or in ye office of a Constable shall 
come to such Sessions without their Cloak (if they have any) in a 
decent and Civill mannar. every such person shall fforfeit for every such 
offence contrary to this ordinance Two Shillinges. 

ITEM It is further ordered, agreed, and established that every person 
of the said Towne and Parish of Tiverton which now is. or hereafter 
shalbe, Mayor there, within Three Monetbs next after he shalbe out of his 
Said office of Mayor shall make a true and perfect account before ye 
Mayor, Burgesses and Assistants, or the greater part of them for the time 
being, of and ffor all Such Seuall Sumeor Sumesof money as such Mayor 
hath recieved, for or by virtue, colour, or reason of his said office of Mayor, 
and of the Imployment of the Same, vpon paine to fforfeit Ten Poundes 
for every moneth that he shall not perf orme the Same, being not lawfully 
hindred therein according to the true Meaning of this ordinance, to be 
levied aa aforesaid. 



.lir.HE year ~\ 642 is famous for the commencement of the Great 
MA2 Rebellion. The inhabitants of Tiverton, it is evident, 
< ^^ s were not of one mind on this subject. A section favoured 
either party. But a priori one would say, Tiverton being a trad- 
ing and manufacturing centre, that the majority were Round- 
heads. This much is certain, that at the outset of the struggle 
the Parliamentarians were the masters, and had a garrison here 
under Colonel Weare. This arrangement, however, was not 
destined to continue. As is well known, Fortune at first smiled 
on the Royalists, and Tiverton was early a victim of her caprice. 
In August, 1643, a troop of the King's dragoons, led by Sir Allen 
Apsley and Major Buckingham, left Exeter and captured the 
town by surprise. Sir Allen, I may mention, was a brother of 
Mrs. Lucy Hutchinson, wife of Colonel Hutchinson, and authoress 
of the celebrated memoirs ; and he was commander of Barnstaple 
at the time of its surrender to the Parliamentarians. Whether 
any or what amount of resistance was offered by Colonel Weare 
and his men, does not appear, but the mob, waxing valiant, pelted 
the soldiers as they rode up Gold-street with a choice miscellany 
of stones, brickbats, &c. The troopers, irritated at this recep- 
tion, discharged their pieces, placing a large number of their 
assailants hors de combat. The rest thereupon dispersed. The 
Cavaliers, however, were not satisfied with this easy victory. 
Doubtless by way of example, they seized John Lock, a miller, 
and executed him at the sign of the White Horse in Gold-street, 
which ceremony being enacted, they proceeded to plunder the 
town. I may add that the Colonel Weare who was thus caught 
napping was no soldado, or professional fire-eater, of the Dalgetty 
type, but a local hero John Weare, of Halberton. 

For two years the Royalists remained in undisturbed possession, 


and during this time, it would appear, the ordinary municipal 
functions were suspended. Tiverton, besides being under martial 
law, was saddled with a most merciless tyrant in a certain Colonel 
Connocke. The true name of this person was Fiennes. He was 
a son of Lord Say. He had been formerly a colonel in the 
Parliamentarian army, and was governor of Bristol when that 
city capitulated to the Eoyalists. He had been tried on that 
occasion for cowardice and sentenced to lose his head. Fortunately 
for himself, though not so fortunately for the general community, 
he succeeded in evading the penalty. After that he transferred 
his allegiance to the Eoyalists. His conduct at Tiverton 
must certainly have been very bad, the proof being that when in 
1645 he attempted to join Fairfax at Axminster, Sir Thomas 
for that reason refused to have anything to do with him. " The 
General " says Spragge (" Anglia Kediviva," pt. ii. c. 3) " understood 
of his cruel conduct to the country, whilst he was governor of the 
place, in torturing people and burning them with matches and 
otherwise cruelly using both men and women (in such manner as 
is not fit to be mentioned)" and as the sequel " he was required to 
depart the quarter of the Parliament or to be proceeded against 
as a spy." 

In September, 1644, Lord Goring and Sir John Berkley united 
their forces at Tiverton, and Berkley's horse, engaging the enemy 
in or near the town, forced them to beat a retreat. The 
possession of Tiverton was just then of considerable value to the 
King, forming as it did one of regular stages for the royal forces 
in their march from Plymouth. It would appear also to have 
been important from a strategic point of view, being, to use the 
phrase then current, " upon a passe." 

Whilst these events were in progress, a new disaster loomed on 
the horizon. This was the plague or sweating sickness. Cases of 
the sort had occurred in the two previous months, but the 
epidemic was most virulent in October. In this month alone 105 
persons are recorded to have died. The total number of victims 
was 450, and largely on account of this visitation the town was 
almost forsaken. The hasty burial of so many corpses in a few 
feet of earth afterwards excited fears lest the pestilence should 
return, and the south and east parts of St. Peter's Churchyard, 
where most of the interments took place, were raised much above 
their original level by heaps of earth which, in the hope of pre- 
venting infection, were thrown down there. The mai'ket was 
held in a field (which from that circumstance received the name 
of Shambles) near the two-mile-stone on the Halberton road ; and 
it has been conjectured that Little Silver, which is said to have 
been colonized as a harbour of refuge during a time of pestilence, 
may have sprung up at this period. Certainly what with cavalry 
skirmishes, the oppressions of Colonel Connocke, and the plague, 
Tiverton was then no very enviable spot to dwell in. 


Next year Sir Kichard Greenvil, descendant as well as name- 
sake of the famous Elizabethan sea-dog, got into trouble with the 
Royalists (the party to which he adhered) through his negligence. 
It was his duty to look after the commissariat. This, however, he 
conspicuously failed to do. Complaints were rife that the 
garrisons of Dartmouth, Barnstaple, and Tiverton were both 
badly provisioned and inadequately supplied with arm sand ammu- 
nition. Representations were made on the subject by the 
county gentlemen who, under the name of Commissioners, had 
charge of the royal interests ; but Sir Richard successfully com- 
batted all attacks. This would have been all very well, but in 
January, Essex had been succeeded in the command of the 
Parliamentarians by Sir Thomas Fairfax, a far abler man, who 
might be expected before long to put his opponents' preparations 
to the test. Meanwhile the Prince of Wales (afterwards Charles 
II.) appeared in the West as a mediator. After settling the 
vexed question of contributions he gave orders that detachments 
should be forwarded to Sir Richard Greenvil at Tiverton from 
Dartmouth, Exeter, and Barnstaple. The Exeter company obeyed; 
but the Dartmouth and Barnstaple contingents, a report reaching 
them that Lord Goring had retired from Taunton, abandoned the 
march, whereupon Sir Richard Greenvil, we are told, " took occa- 
sion to exclaim against the Prince and his Commissioners." 

Towards the end of the same month of August, 1645, in which 
these events occurred, the Prince of Wales held a council of war 
at Exeter. It was resolved that the infantry should proceed to 
Tiverton and the cavalry to the east of Exeter, and that on the 
arrival of the indispensable Sir Richard Greenvil, the entire army 
should advance to the relief of Bristol. The fall of that place, 
which was announced the following month, negatived the last 
proposal ; otherwise there was no change in the plan of campaign. 
According to Clarendon it was the intention of the Royalists 
" that, if the enemy gave time, the force of both counties (i.e. 
Devon and Cornwall) should be drawn to Tiverton and upon that 
pass to fight with the rebels." However, the retreat of Lord 
Goring ruined these calculations. 

It was in these circumstances, apparently, that Connocke, with 
the instinct of the proverbial rat, deserted. He was not alone in 
his poltroonery. The governor of Tiverton Castle was Colonel 
Amias Pollard, but he had no stomach for the fight, and on the 
approach of General Fairfax threw up his command. The person 
whom the Prince of Wales commissioned to succeed him was Sir 
Gilbert Talbot. Sir Gilbert, I should say, though not a great 
man, had a very distinct personality. He did not come to Tiverton 
with an absolutely clean record, but his loyalty at all events was 
unimpeachable. Previous to this he had rendered himself chiefly 
famous by some extraordinary proceedings in the Levant, where 
he had attempted to confiscate the effects of the English 


merchants to the sole use of His Majesty King Charles I. The 
merchants, however, by liberal bribes to the Grand Vizier managed 
to defeat the scheme. Good or bad, Sir Gilbert Talbot deter- 
mined to hold his own. 

On Tuesday, October 14, Fairfax marched to Honiton from 
Chard. On Wednesday his vanguard reached Cullompton. Here 
the loyalists had 300 dragoons and a body of infantry, under 
Lord Miller. They attempted, however, no kind of stand, and 
incontinently evacuated the place. The Parliamentarians pursued 
and took some of them prisoners. The others, it was ascertained, 
had retreated to Tiverton. At a council of war which was held 
the same night, it was decided that Major-General Massey with 
the cavalry and a brigade of infantry should advance on Tiverton 
and besiege the Castle. On Thursday he marched. Eeaching his 
destination he drove the enemy before him and compelled them 
to take refuge in the Castle and Church. In an assault on the 
Castle, Massey appears to have sustained a repulse. On 
Thursday, Fairfax had paid a visit to Bradninch, but on receipt of 
this intelligence he hastened to Tiverton, where he arrived on Fri- 
day, the 17th, and called on the enemy to surrender. They refused, 
and Fairfax commenced a regular investment of the place. 

The contest was no doubt very unequal. Talbot states that 
his cavalry were mutinous, that the garrison included only 200 
infantry, and that some of his principal officers were disaffected. 
All this may easily be believed. The Royalists found great 
difficulty in paying their men, provisions ran short, nor was it 
unlikely that the examples of the virtuous Colonel Connocke and 
the valiant Colonel Pollard should have influenced other chiefs of 
the party. In so far then as Talbot's asseverations relate to him- 
self and his resources, they may, I think, be implicitly received. 
As regards the enemy his estimate is clearly exaggerated. He puts 
them down at two and twenty thousand men. If this were 
correct, the proportions would be those of a fairy tale. As a 
matter of fact Fairfax had about six thousand under his command, 
and we know of what they consisted Weldon's brigade of 
infantry, six companies of foot which had formed part of the 
Chichester garrison, an equal number from Lyme, and a division 
of cavalry ranging from 1800 to 2000. 

Friday and Saturday were spent in the erection of batteries 
over against the Castle. Massey had already, before Fairfax's 
arrival, commenced this necessary work, and now, under the 
supervision of both generals, it was prosecuted with so much 
energy that by Saturday afternoon the batteries were complete. 
There has been much discussion as to where these batteries 
were placed. Tradition says, near the present site of the 
Black Horse Inn, Bampton - street, and, taking all the cir- 
cumstances into account, it would be difficult to hit on a 
more plausible situation. The reader must beware of sup- 


posing that Newport-street then presented at all a similar appear- 
ance to what it does now. The term " Works," applied to 
the open space adjoining St. Peter's Churchyard, must often have 
perplexed strangers who, seeing no signs of industry thereabouts, 
may have jumped to the conclusion that the name was imposed 
arbitrarily, on the lucus a non lucendo principle. The description, 
however, has reference to an earlier state of things, to a period 
that is to say, when the area in question was enclosed by the 
outworks of the Castle. One flank, it seems, extended along 
Newport-street as far as Castle-street, while the other ran 
parallel to it from the northern end of the Castle to the juncture 
of William-street, Castle-street, and Bartow's-causeway. Castle- 
street is the " causeway " (the only specimen still left in the town) 
which Dunsford describes as leading to the eastern gate of the 
Castle, and which, though now cut off from it, was doubtless the 
regular approach. At the south-east angle was the outer gate, 
from which Newport-street (Fr. porte " a gate ") derives its 
name. This gate was surmounted by a Gothic arch ; and a wall, 
with battlements and small stone arches, guarded the causeway. 
Moreover, two other gates, under like arches, at intervals of 
eighteen feet, helped to fortify the entrance, " the whole of 
which was thirty-six feet long and fifteen feet wide, divided by 
the gates into equal parts, the ceilings of each of them strongly 
arched with stone to support the building over, and branches of 
hewn stone in the Gothic style, sprung from the angles and sides 
to the centre, where they were united beneath the Lancastrian 
rose " (Dunsford). Both the north and south walls were defended 
by deep and wide moats. According to tradition there was a 
drawbridge connecting the round tower, which still exists, with 
the churchyard, and this may well have been the case. But it 
seems necessary, as it is certainly natural, to believe that there was 
another drawbridge between the outer gate, which, as we have 
seen, was elaborately fortified, and Newport-street. 

After this amount of explanation which the reader, I am sure, 
will not deem superfluous, I return to my narrative. On Saturday 
afternoon the garrison seems to have become aware of their 
desperate situation, and a man was let down from the Castle by 
means of a rope. The manoeuvre, however, was observed by the 
Parliamentarian sentries, who promptly arrested the fugitive. 
Nothing of importance was found on him, but, stimulated by 
threats, he confessed that before his capture he had thrown a 
missive of which he was the bearer " by the water-side." It is 
not clear what is meant by this enigmatical phrase either the 
moat or the River Exe may be intended anyhow the letter was 
found. It proved to be a despatch from Sir Gilbert Talbot to Sir 
John Berkley, the governor of Exeter, entreating aid and 
promising to hold out to the last. On Sunday before daybreak 
Fairfax had mounted his guns, and at seven o'clock his artillery 


began to play. It is evident that he did not expect any 
immediate result, for a council of war was being held at Blundell's 
School, when a lucky shot broke the chain of the drawbridge. From 
that moment all was over. A panic seized the garrison, and, 
without a thought of their other lines of defence, they fled into 
the Castle and the Church. The Eoundheads, on their part, did 
not wait for instructions, but poured into the works. Finding 
that the enemy had locked the doors, they broke through the 
windows of the Church, and stripped their adversaries to their 
shirts. Sir Gilbert Talbot now thought that the time was come 
for capitulating. He shut himself up in his room and hung out a 
flag of truce. No notice was taken of this, but the Castle 
having been seized, quarter was freely given. " We tooke in the 
Castle " says Vicars, (" Parliamentary Chronicle " p. 300.) " Sir 
Gilbert Talbot, G-overnour of the place, above 20 other Officers 
and Gentlemen of note and quality, and among them, one 
Master Kemp, a grand Malignant Priest, above 200 Common 
Souldiers, foure Pieces of Ordnance, thirty Barrels of Powder, 
500 Armes, and store of other Ammunition, Provision, and 
Treasure, good prey for the Souldiers paines who so well deserved 

The same authority ascribes the capture of the Castle to a 
miracle, and he does not forget to cite the nameless archer who 
drew a bow at a venture and killed Ahab. Without adjudicating 
on the subject of special acts of Providence, it is hardly irrelevant 
to remark that a great deal depends on our point of view. Though, 
as we shall shortly see, Anglicans as well as Puritans were fond of 
interpreting extraordinary events as arising from Divine inter- 
position, the Eoyalists could scarcely be expected to accept 
Vicars' theory in regard to the drawbridge. To them the affair 
must have seemed diabolical rather than providential. Officially, 
however, Talbot preferred a simpler explanation, attributing the 
loss of the Castle to the treachery of Major Sadler. This account, 
though not quite accurate, involved no injustice to Major Sadler, 
who would have betrayed the garrison if he could. He had 
formerly served in the Parliamentary army and promised, if his 
desertion were pardoned, to supply valuable information. His 
offer was rejected, and after the taking of the Castle he was 
sentenced to death. Having escaped to Exeter, he was placed 
under arrest by the Royalists, who had also a grudge against him 
for seeking to betray their cause, tried by court-martial, and 
executed. Such was the end of Major Sadler, who cannot be 
congratulated on playing his cards well. 

A curious episode is recorded to have happened during the 
siege. A Mrs. Cunick, Sir Gilbert's nurse, was in the round 
tower holding his child. Suddenly a cannon shot entered, killing 
her, but sparing the child. What the moral may be, I am unable 
to say. Another anecdote is this. It was the custom for farmers 


to bring into the town large quantities of wool which was deposited 
for sale under the church-house in a place called " the Chapel." 
This wool appears to have been appropriated by the garrison as a 
means of defence against the shot, and after the siege the church- 
yard was strewed with it. Now for the pith of the story. A 
John Salter told Dunsford that as no one claimed the property, 
his (Salter's) grandfather gave some men sixpence to drag one of 
the bags to his house. His example was generally followed and 
in this way the wool was gradually cleared off. One is certainly 
not disposed to vilify Salter for his part in the matter, but what 
are we to say of the denseness, the almost incredible denseness, of 
those who, when such an admirable opportunity presented itself 
for " self-help,'' went thus out of their way to serve another? 
; caecas hominum mentes ! pectora dura ! 

It has been conjectured, without any great probability, that 
some members of the garrison may have escaped by a subterranean 
passage constructed for the purpose, and believed to have had its 
other embouchure in the centre of the town. It is possible of 
course that there may have been such a passage, though all 
attempts to explore it have so far ended in failure. Moreover, it 
is likely even then to have been long disused. Tet a man will 
overlook minor inconveniences when he is in danger of being put 
to the sword, and this is just the moment when the thought of 
topographical investigation most readily occurs to him. As the 
subject is a pleasing one, a brief note on subterranean passages 
generally may prove not unwelcome. Until people became 
acquainted with them in the vulgarized form of underground 
railways, a world of romance encircled these dark mysterious 
thoroughfares. The imagination naturally turned to kobolds and 
gnomes, who, it might be supposed, would indignantly resent this 
intrusion on their legitimate domains ; and tbe reader is not 
likely to have forgotten the use which Horace Walpole makes of 
such a passage in his " Castle of Otranto." Victor Hugo, again, 
in " Les Miserables " lights up with a lurid interest the unpoetical 
and unsavoury regions of the Paris sewers. But subterranean 
passages have a claim on the attention of the antiquary and 
historian, so numerous are the traditions concerning them. Let 
me quote a few. Thus a passage under the earth is said to have 
connected Shrewsbury Castle with Lyth ; and Broughton Castle, 
the seat of Lord Saye and Sele, is stated to have been similarly 
furnished. At Bury Hall, Edmonton, "there is in one of the 
cellars the opening of a subterranean passage, now blocked up, 
said to lead to the church, a mile distant." At Wakefield a 
tradition formerly prevailed that there was a passage extending 
from Landal Castle to Wakefield Church, a distance of about a 
mile and a half. To come nearer home a subterranean passage is 
supposed to have run from Bampton Castle to the Church. 
Legendary lore has clustered round some of these remains. At 


Pendeen in the parish of St. Just, Cornwall, the story goes that 
an Irish lady, dressed in white, with a red rose in her inouth, is to 
be found on a Christmas morning at the entrance of a cave, where 
she confides to the visitor tidings brought from her native land 
through the submarine recesses connected with it. 

The reader will not fail to have noticed the element of un- 
certainty pervading these instances. Every subterranean passage 
is said to have led to this place or that; but from whatever cause 
whether from the fear of meeting the same fate as Bishop Haddo 
or from a reasonable dislike to noxious gases, fetid smells, and cob- 
webs no man seems to have adventured himself within their pre- 
cincts, so that he might announce to a grateful world whether 
these things were so. At Tiverton, however, in 1 773, a half- 
hearted attempt was made to find out the truth of the matter. 
Some Cornish miners, who had been enlisted in the 31st Regiment, 
were persuaded to excavate a garden at the back of a house in 
Fore-street. They dug to a depth of 30 feet, but all they could 
discover were some lumps of tin ore. It has been surmised that 
these, even, did not come there by nature. 

In an old number of the Tiverton Gazette appears a tragic 
tale. As it relates to this period and seems to be founded on a 
legend, I insert it here, with apologies to the author for changing 
the title : 


A few ivy-clad ruins are all that now remain of the once noble 
Castle of Tiverton ; a castle which loyal to its King, held out 
bravely, but unsuccessfully, against the besieging army of Fairfax. 
Gay ladies, brave cavaliers once dwelt beneath its roof and under 
its protection ; the courtyards once resounded with the neighing 
and prancing of gaily caparisoned steeds ; and its banqueting-hall 
was often the scene of mirth and enjoyment. Those times have 
passed away ; age and decay, helped by destructive man, have 
laid their withering touch on the old castle ; and all which they 
have left are a few crumbling stones, which seem almost held 
together by the ivy which envelopes them, and which barely 
mark the spot where the castle once stood. These ruins have 
seen many a strange sight, and if they could but speak, would 
tell, doubtless, many a startling tale. They were witnesses, and 
the only witnesses now extant, which can bear testimony to the 
following which in this age, when antiquity is looked upon with a 
certain degree of reverence, may perchance be interesting to 

It was in the year 16 that a gentleman whom we will call Sir 
Hugh Spencer was the Governor of Tiverton Castle, a fine, 
straightforward Englishman, a little proud, perhaps, of his descent 
which he could trace back as far as the time when William the 


Conqueror subdued England, but in all other respects a brave and 
worthy man. His wife had died, and his only child was a beautiful 
girl, by name Alice, who was just verging on her twenty-first 

Alice Spencer was a perfect Saxon beauty, light hair, and blue 
eyes, and with such a sweet temper and charming disposition, 
that she was beloved by her father and respected by everyone 

As may be naturally supposed, there were many suitors for the 
hand of this young lady, but the one selected by Sir Hugh as the 
future husband of his daughter was Sir Charles Trevor, a man 
many years older than Alice and possessed of great wealth. 

In those days the lady had very little choice in the matter, and 
undoubtedly Sir Hugh considered that in marrying his daughter to 
a man with plenty of money, he was in every way doing his duty 
as a parent. -Bub Sir Charles Trevor was decidedly what might 
be termed a disagreeable man. His countenance was far from 
pleasing, he was of a sour disposition and frequently burst 
into violent passions on the most trifling matters. He had long 
black hair and a very black moustache, which, ending in a twirl, 
gave him a fierce expression of countenance. In short, everyone 
agreed that had Miss Alice's feelings been the least consulted in 
the matter, he was the last man she would have chosen as her 
partner through life. But she had not as yet resisted the will of 
her father, and whether she loved or hated Sir Charles Trevor was 
known to herself alone. There was only one other inhabitant 
of the Castle whom we need describe by name : this was Maurice 
Fortescue, a young man of noble blood, who possessing a hand- 
some face, a fine figure, and an excellent disposition, was a general 
favourite. His father had died and had left him but little property 
and one large mastiff. Vulcan, for that was the name of the 
dog, was faithfully attached to his master, and his master was 
equally fond of him, so much so indeed that they were generally 
to be seen together. Living in the same castle with Alice, the 
intimate friend of her father, and with a heart not made of stone, 
Maurice Fortescue fell deeply in love with her. He loved her with 
all the fervency of his nature, and yet such was his high sense of 
honour that knowing Sir Hugh would expect the husband of 
his daughter to be a man of great wealth, he never breathed his 
love for her, but kept it a secret wrapt in the inmost recesses of his 
heart; nay more, he tried to quench it, although he felt how 
utterly impossible it would be to do so. Sir Hugh Spencer 
trusted him implicitly, and gave him the management over the 
whole castle ; thus his life was a happy one till Sir Charles 
Trevor came as a suitor for the hand of Alice Spencer, and was 
accepted by her father. Then the heart of Maurice Fortescue 
was cruelly tortured ; he saw that it was impossible that one so 
young and beautiful as Alice could have any affection for a man. 


like Sir Charles, and yet he could not, dared not interfere, but 
must stand by and see her absolutely sacrificed and bound to a 
man with the temper of a demon. Think not, gentle reader, 
that it was from jealousy. Maurice Fortescue knew not what 
that was, but he, nevertheless, imbibed a hatred of Sir Charles 
Trevor, which was as unaccountable as it was lasting. Vulcan 
joined his master also in this respect, for sundry kicks received 
from Sir Charles had made that gentleman anything but a 
favourite with the faithful dog. This then was the state" of feel- 
ing between the various parties, Sir Charles Trevor hating 
Maurice on account of his honest disposition and good temper, 
while the latter returned the hatred from the very bottom of his 

It was on a lovely May day, when the foliage had once again 
made its appearance, the trees were in their summer attire, and 
the flowers shedding abroad their fragrance, that Sir Charles 
Trevor was meditating as he walked in the beautiful grounds of 
Tiverton Castle. To him nature had no particular charms ; he 
cared not for the lovely scenery which surrounded him on all 
sides : the subject which occupied his mind was how easily he had 
gained his suit, and how he would tame his wife to his will. Alice 
had shown him no attention, he thought ; she certainly did not 
seem to care much for him, but that was no consequence. A 
sudden thought struck him : perhaps she might be in love with 
Maurice Fortescue. That idea seemed to please him, and he 
muttered aloud " Well, if that be the case, I will marry her 
directly. Ere a week passes, she shall be Lady Trevor. I wonder 
how that will please our gallant Fortescue. Arrogant young Knave, 
I hate the fellow !" He had flung his handsomely embroidered 
cap on the ground during his soliloquy, and was pacing up and 
down, laughing at the feelings Maurice would have at seeing Alice 
Spencer married to another man, when Vulcan came bounding 
along and seeing the cap lying on the grass took it in his mouth 
and playfully shook it to pieces. Sir Charles turned round, saw 
its fate, and in an instant the fiery demon of passion took 
possession of his mind, he drew his sword, and ran its blade 
through the body of the poor animal. Maurice Fortescue, who 
was a little way behind, saw his favourite thus cruelly treated. The 
dog which had been so faithful, so affectionate to him, crawled 
towards him bedewing the turf with his life's blood ; and looking 
into his master's face as if to wish him farewell, immediately died. 
Maurice Fortescue lost all self-possession, he sprang forward, and 
with one well-directed blow, felled Sir Charles Trevor to the 
ground. That gentleman slowly arose and simply addressed him in 
these words : " Mr. Fortescue will perhaps give me the satisfac- 
tion of treating him as I did his dog, at seven o'clock this evening, 
in the wood near the river." This speech, gentle reader, in the 
present day would seem absurd. Now if Brown insults Jones, 


and Jones is of a quick temper, he, to use the language of the 
P.E. " lets out straight from the shoulder," and makes what may 
be termed a marked impression on Brown ; but it was not so in 
the old time, and therefore, when Maurice heard these words from 
Sir Charles he knew that at seven o'clock, in the little wood near the 
river, he would have to fight for life or death and that the weapon 
used was to be the sword. He well knew that Sir Charles was a 
most skilful swordsman, and that he was well experienced in the 
art of duelling. He himself was a good hand at it, but he had 
neither the practice nor the skill of Sir Charles, and, though he had 
quite as much courage, he felt that his chance of life was poor 
indeed. In four short hours he might be a corpse, and then Alice 
would be left without a single friend to protect her from Sir 
Charles Trevor. This thought drove him almost to madness, and 
he determined to seek her and wish her good-bye. He rushed 
through the grounds of the castle, but nowhere could he see her ; 
at last, after a long search he found her in the wood, where in 
such a short time his fate, one way or the other, was to be 
decided. His heart beat painfully loud as he approached her. 
" Miss Spencer," he said, " I have come to ask you, as my greatest 
friend, to do me the favour of taking care of this little locket for 
me, which was given to me by my mother." 

" Mr. Eortescue," she said smiling, " I am sure that 1 am not 
your greatest friend : that title belongs to Vulcan." 

" Vulcan is dead," he replied. 

" Dead " ? she said, and seeing then that something serious 
was the matter, she quickly added : " I beseech you, tell me how it 
happened, for he was a great favourite of mine." 

He told her all, told her how for a trivial offence Sir Charles 
Trevor had killed his faithful dog, how, stung with madness at the 
sight of his dying favourite, the only being that loved him, he 
had struck its murderer to the ground, how, of course, he had con- 
sented to give him satisfaction, and how little chance he had of 
surviving, and then he told her how madly, hopelessly, and deeply 
he had loved her, how he could not help seeking her to wish her 
good-bye, and how he hoped that if she really loved Sir Charles 
she would forgive him for insulting him. You may judge, gentle 
reader, ef his unspeakable joy, when, with a flushed cheek, but in 
a determined voice, she replied : " Maurice Fortescue, if in the duel 
with this wicked man you fall, the heart of Alice Spencer dies 
with you." 

Here, reader, let us leave them ; in a moment the fervent wish 
of many long years has been gratified, and when on the point of 
fighting for his life, he has discovered that Alice Spencer loves 
him. * 

It is seven o'clock ; the birds have hushed their song, the rooks 
are wending their way home, and Sir Charles Trevor walks alone 
in the small wood near Tiverton Castle. The river Exe, swollen by 


the previous day's rain, flows more rapidly and not so clear as 
usual ; pieces of wood and stick dash past borne downwards by the 
current to the sea. Another personage makes his appearance : it 
is Maurice Fortescue. With a bold step he advances to meet his 
opponent. " I am come true to my word, Sir Charles," he said, 
" and ready to avenge the death of Vulcan." 

Sir Charles Trevor sneered, and, pale with rage, told him to 
draw and defend himself. 

The swords clash, each a trusty blade, each wielded by an 
arm strengthened by the fearless heart within ; the weapons 
flash in the setting sun, the passes are rapid, each fighting for his 
life his honour. See, blood is trickling down the arm of Sir 
Charles staining his embroidered sleeve ; they become more and 
more excited and fearfully in earnest. Long the contest remains 
uncertain, till at last, oh ! awful sight, skill has the victory, and 
Maurice Fortescue has fallen pierced through the neck. His con- 
queror bends over him, a ghastly smile flits o'er his face as he 
beholds his prostrate victim, he lifts him in his arms and, though 
he is not yet dead, hastens to the river. Oh, heavens ! surely he 
is not going to drown him while yet breathing ? Can such base- 
ness, such wickedness be in man ? He reaches the bank, and hurls 
him into the flooded river. He looks round to see that there is 
no witness of his treachery. A white dress may be seen in the 
distance rapidly nearing the stream, he rushes madly towards it 
a plunge, alas ! he is too late, and the same Exe which carried 
down with it the body of her lover, bore the gentle spirit of Alice 
Spencer to her last long home. 

Since the days of the Cavaliers Tiverton Castle has ceased to 
justify its name. A modern castellated building was added some 
twenty years ago to the only habitable part of the old structure, but 
the term " castle " seems to imply preparations for war, not merely 
solid masonry and mediaeval architecture. The following poem, 
therefore, written by Mr. H. J. Carpenter of this town, which 
has been pronounced by a competent judge a worthy echo of "In 
Memoriam," has a special appropriateness in this place. 


MARCH 12TH, 1885. 

I sit upon the arching hills 

That look on Isca's winding wave, 

And rising as from out a grave, 
The long gone past my spirit thrills. 

As musing there on thought intent 

I gaze towards the town I love ; 

And still shall love where'er I rove, 
Until this earth with earth be blent. 


And gazing there, methinks a stream 

Of pageants mirror'd on my soul 

Doth through my tranced vision roll, 
With all the swiftness of a dream. 

They gather round thy crumbling towers, 

They people thy deserted shades, 

They wander through the leafy glades 
That crown thy slopes with waving bowers. 

Thou relic of the days long past, 

Of chivalry's forgotten pride, 

Of heroism proved and tried, 
Aye ready at the trumpet's blast. 

Old mystery of childhood's hour, 

How oft I longed that veil to raise, 

That hides thy tale from mortal gaze ; 
Armed with some fabled wizard's power, 

To summon from their silent sleep, 

Those who once trod thy stately halls, 

Where now no sound of footstep falls, 
And naught but ghostly shadows creep. 

Yet now obedient to my call, 

The centuries their course repeat ; 

And phantom forms, with noiseless feet, 
Hasten toman thy moulder ing wall. 

Once more, amid the glittering throng 

The neighing horses proudly prance ; 

And warriors charge with quiv'ring lance, 
While beauty waits to crown the strong. 

Once more, in festal time throughout 

The livelong night thy walls resound 

With mirth and laughter circling round 
To greet the mummers' sportive rout. 

While Yule-tide fires their ruddy light 

Cast through the mullioned window pane, 
To mock the splash of drifting rain 

And pierce the darkness of the night. 

Yet other scenes before me rise, 

And other sounds ring in these ears, 

Rending the misty veil of years ; 
And rivals strive before mine eyes. 

A clash of swords, a fatal blow, 

A shriek that tells a broken heart, 

A leap to meet where none shall part ; 
'Tis o'er and on the waters flow.* 

* A legend of the Castle. 


The centuries roll on, and now, 

Unwilling slave to tyranny, 

Yet ever longing to be free, 
Thou rearest there thy sullied brow 

Beneath their sway whose paltry worth 

Could hold a despot's smile above 

The faith, the fealty, the love, 
They owe the country of their birth.* 

And now these phantoms fade, yet still 

Thou standest there a ruin grey, 

Shrouded in silence deep as they 
Who lie beneath this grassy hill :f 

To as, immortal, changing naught, 

To us, the creatures of a day, 

To us, who hymn thee in a lay, 
With inspirations faintly caught 

From memories which thy towers awake, 
Links in the chain that binds the past 
To that which is, and o'er us cast 

A magic spell we could not break ; 

To us, immortal yet to thee 

But, as it were, of yesterday 

Sweet river rushing on to pay 
Thy tribute to the changeless sea ; 

Who wast ere yet the Norman's might 
Kaised by the wave yon castle proud, 
Who wilt be when oblivion's cloud 

Hath wrapt his name in starless night. 

A last word on Sir Gilbert Talbot. On being taken prisoner he 
was sent first to Lyme and afterwards to Weymouth. Having been 
released in exchange he joined the King (whom he says he had not 
seen since his return from Italy), at Oxford. After the Restor- 
ation Talbot was employed as an envoy at the court of Denmark, 
where he concluded an alliance with the King against the States ; 
and subsequently he was appointed the King's jeweller. He is 
described in the " Plagellum Parliamentarism," a contemporary 
lampoon, as " a great cheat at bowls and cards, and not born to a 
shilling," but, as little or no weight attaches to this authority, 
we will hope that the first accusation at any rate is untrue. The 
latter charge, though Sir Gilbert with his aristocratic connec- 
tions may have found it hard to bear, is of no importance. 
General Massey's inclinations were naturally somewhat different. 

* The Castle was held by the Royalists. 

t A battle was fought on Skrinkhills in 1549 and bones have 
been dug up there. 


Among the many pamphlets which issued from the press at this 
time was one with the extraordinary title : 



Who was entertained by the Devill to 

be servant to him with the consent of his Father, about 

Crediton in the "West, and how the Devill carried him up in the 

aire, and shewed him the torments of Hell, and some 

of the Cavaliers there, and what preparation 

there was made for Goring and 

Greenvile against they came. 

Also, how the Cavaliers went to rob a Carrier, and how 
the Carrier and his Horses turned themselves into 

With a Coppie of a Letter from Major General Massie, 

concerning these strange and wonderfull 

things, with a certaine Box of 

Reliques and Crucifixes 

found in 


The letter of which a " coppie " was inserted was addressed to 
Mr. Davenport, a Cheshire gentleman residing in London, and ran 
as follows : 

I lately received your Letter wherein you give me notice that 
my business is much retracted, and hath not obtained that happie 
issue which I expected it should have done. We have no news 


at present, but such as I suppose is already come to your eares, 
only this wonder here enclosed, the true relation whereof I re- 
ceived from Mr. Cullum, of Cannon's Lea, a Gentleman of 
approved integritie and estimation in this County : I have sent 
you by this bearer a Box of Eeliques, with a great Crucifix, found 
in Tiverton Church, in the wall which the Cavaliers had there 
built for the strengthning of the porch, which may serve as a 
sufficient argument to convince your wives good opinion, which 
she formerly conceived of those champions of Antichrist the 
Cavaliers. You shall doe me a favour, if you please to hasten 
Mr. East, about the finishing of my Watch, and send me halfe a 
pound of the best sealing wax. 

I remaine 

Tour faithful Friend, 


The allusion which this letter contains to a box of reliques 
reminds us of another act of spoliation which probably took place 
at this period and which, for the thief, had a lamentable ending. 
In " a Discourse on the Impiety of Tithe Stealing " which was 
published by the Eev. John Newte, Rector of Tidcombe, in 
1711, the matter is thus referred to : 

" A person named William Hill, of Tiverton, who, in the 
beginning of the Parliament's Rebellion, heard that some were 
demolishing the Earl of Devonshire's Chapel, which stood in the 
Churchyard, and were carrying away from it what they could. 
He came thither upon the same wicked design, and found that 
they had broke to Pieces a Stately Monument made for the Earl 
and his Countess, and carried away the materials, and the orna- 
ments within, and the Lead at Top, and, upon which, he lamented 
his misfortune for coming so late, and said, ' Now they have taken 
away all before 1 came, there is nothing left for me.' But 
looking up, he saw a Bell at the end of it, which they called the 
Saints Bell. ' Oh ' says he, ' I'll have this/ And getting a 
Ladder, he goes up to take it down, and so letting it slip through 
his Hands, the Brim of it cut off his Toes on both Feet, by which 
means he became a Cripple, and wasting his substance and a small 
Tenement he had in the cure of his wounds, he became miserably 
Poor and unfit for Business, went about a Begging upon his Heels 
with a Crutch and an underhand staff, and so he continued 
several years, till a gentleman gave him a little Horse, that he 
might ride farther off and beg abroad ; and he did for some time, 
till at last in the Parish of Anstey in this County, he and his 
Horse were found Dead together in a Ditch. A dismal end of a 
Sacrilegious Person." 

There is some fear that this story may be apocryphal, as Bisdon 
(who wrote circiter 1630) speaks of the chapel as already demol- 
ished, but if it is not true, it is at least leu trovato. 


On receiving the news of the fall of Tiverton, the House of 
Commons passed the following resolutions : 

" Ordered that on the next Lord's day, whereon thanks are 
ordered to be given unto God for the many successes it hath 
pleased God to give the Parliament's forces, this great blessing, of 
God's delivery into the hands of the Parliament of Tiverton and 
the Castle, may be remembered, and thanks given God for this 
blessing also ; the manner of taking thereof being very remark- 

" Ordered, that the committee of the West do forthwith pay 
unto the two messengers that brought this good news of the 
taking in of Tiverton, the sum of 15 : to the messenger that 
lives at Blandford the sum of 10 ; and to the other .5." 

After this the much-afflicted town entered on a period of com- 
parative quiet, but individual citizens who had the misfortune to 
differ either in politics or religion from the constituted authorities 
did not find their lot a pleasant one. As we have already shown, 
Tiverton was governed by a close Corporation, not necessarily in 
sympathy with the general inhabitants. The members of that 
body still retained their respect for the first estate of the realm, and 
in 1649, the date of the " martyrdom" of the King, courageously 
changed their scarlet robes for black. They do not, however, 
appear to have openly flouted their masters, as at Exeter. There 
the Mayor refused to proclaim the usurpers, and withheld the 
customary honours from the judges on circuit. For this show of 
independence he was mulcted in a fine of 200, and the assizes 
were removed to Tiverton. "The judges' names" (says Blundell) 
" were Lord Chief Baron Wild and Mr. Justice Eigby." I learn 
from the same writer that the scene of their labours was 
Blundell's School, Wild adorning with his presence the Fives' 
Court in the Green, while Eigby presided at the desk in the 
Higher School. A section of the Corporation seem to have per- 
sisted in their contumacy, and in 1655, when the Eoyalists made 
a feeble attempt at a rising, the Mayor received the following 
billet from Desborough : 

Mr. Meayor. 

I have received sundry informations against John Deyman, 
Aquila Skinner, George Waldron, Thomas Prowse, and Thomas 
Hartnoll, Members of your Corporation, wherein they are 
scandalous in their Lives or Enemies to the Commonwealth, which 
indeed is a Dishonour to God, or Scandal to the Government, 
and a Burden to the well-affected : For the prevention of which 
I am to remove such whithersoever (sic) I find them, either in 
magistracy or in Places of Trust. And being unwilling to make 
them public examples, I thought a private Dismission fitter. 
Wherefore pray signify this unto them, and that you may make 
Choice of others in their Eooms or Places, as the Act of Parlia- 


ment directs you thereunto. And if any of the Persons above 
mentioned do refuse to yield Obedience hereunto, then you are to 
give me Account thereof that I may take an effectual Course for 
the same. Being all at present from 

Tour affectionate friend 


Desborough was then Lord-lieutenant of the County, and the 
letter is dated " Exon, March 16th, 1655. Some of the members 
expelled bore honoured names, and as the accusations brought 
against them are loose and general, we may easily infer, reading 
between the lines, that they were the victims of party spite. 
Possibly, also, the narrow inquisitorial spirit, so characteristic 
of the Puritans, may have detected little indulgences, which 
served to give colour to the extravagant censures " dishonour to 
God" and " scandal to the Commonwealth." So far as Prowse is 
concerned, there is evidence which strongly supports this view 
that he was not really a bad man. At the Restoration he was 
re-instated in his municipal honours, and in the parish register 
amongst the burials is this obituary notice, "August 17,1661, 
The Right "Worshipful Thomas Prowse, Mayor of the Town and 
Parish/' so that he must have died in office. 

In 1653 an alteration was made in the marriage laws, whereby 
a civil ceremony before the mayor, or a justice of the peace, 
might be substituted for the religious office. Among other persons 
who made themselves useful in this capacity was Daniel Cudmore, 
the Puritan Master of Blundell's School. The result of 
this change was an immediate rise in the number of marriages. 
It is possible, however, that this increase may be more apparent 
than real, since it is likely that by the new law people were pre- 
cluded from going out to Cove to be married, a favourite resource 
both before and after the Commonwealth. Indeed it is not too 
much to say that Cove was the Gretna Green of Tiverton. In a 
note appended to a list of benefices in Devon in the time of 
Elizabeth it is stated that " by reason of many lewd marriages the 
chapel at Cove is called a lawless Church." The person chosen as 
registrar was Henry King, and the first marriage after his appoint- 
ment is thus entered in the parish register : 
" Joshua Fursley and Margaret Holbiamthare contract of marriage 
ware (sic) published in our church or meeting place three severall 
Lordes dayes, viz. the nynth October, 16th, and 23rd, and noe 
exception nor opposition against the said contracte, they ware 
married 24th day of October, by the Right Worshipfull William 
London, Maior, in the presence of John Hatswill, Robert Smyth, 
Joane Multon, and me, Henry King." 

In this singular entry the word " opposition " is written over 
" contradiction," the latter being cancelled. In other respects 
King was not a good penman, his letters being small and the ink 


poor. To those, therefore, who are unacquainted with the crabbed 
caligraphy of the period, the writing is rather difficult to decipher. 
In the larger number of notices the same words are employed as 
in the case cited, but occasionally the form varied. Here is a speci- 
men of one of the entries, given verbatim : 

" William Langford of t*he Parish of Washfield, Clothier, and 
Elizabeth Morrish, of Tiverton, thare contract of marriage was 
three severall markitt dayes following published in our Markitt 
place, viz., October the 30th, November the 6th and 13th. And 
there was no opposition nor exception against the saide contract, 
thare marriage was solemnized the 20th of November, 1654, by 
the Eight Worshipfull John Deyman, Maior." 

In 1649 a market-cross was erected in Fore street not far 
from Coggans Well. This building appears to have been des- 
troyed in the fire of 3731. In its place a new edifice was raised 
at the expense of a merchant named Upcott, who, says Dunsford, 
placed a marble slab in front of it bearing this inscription 


Of that dreadful fire, which, on the fifth day of June, A.D. 1731, by 
God's permission, burnt down near one half of this populous town, 
whereby the damage sustained amounted to the sum of 60,OOOZ. 

And to the immortal honour of those well-disposed Christians, who 
at several voluntary contributions collected upwards of 11,OOOZ to the 
relief of the unhappy sufferers ; particularly of those worthy persons of 
this town, who, by disclaiming any share in the charity, though sufferers 
themselves, became generous benefactors. 

May this marble stand as a lasting monument of our gratitude and 
repentance, till the general conflagration. 

Glory be to God, who in the midst of his judgments remembers 
mercy. Amen. 


The donor's oddly expressed desire was not destined to be 
fulfilled, for in 1783 the structure was taken down and the 
materials sold to a builder. The meat and fish shambles, which 
extended from that point as far almost as St. George's Church- 
yard, were also removed. Like the famous Temple Bar, the 
Market Cross and its adjuncts may have been somewhat of a 
hindrance to traffic, but it is impossible riot to feel some regret at 
the loss of this interesting memorial. The sentiment of the 
inhabitants seems to have been anything but unanimous on the 
subject. One effect of the change was a diminution in the tolls, 
to which allusion is made elsewhere. Two pillars of the Market 
Cross were in 1847 still to be seen at the entrance of a Mrs. 
Brewer's shop in Bampton street . 

The reader may recollect that the fires of 1598 and 1612 were 
looked upon as visitations of Divine wrath on account of the 
impiety of the inhabitants of Tiverton in preparing on Sunday 
for the market which was held on the Monday. This state 
of things was remedied during the Commonwealth, By a grant 
from Oliver Cromwell, dated 15th November, 1655, the market 


day was changed from Monday to Tuesday. This arrangement 
was confirmed by Charles II. in a document bearing date the 14th 
August, 1674, and has been continued to the present time. 

It is now time for me to speak of the religious changes which 
marked the period of the Commonwealth. One of the rectors 
was the Eev. Eichard Newte, who was a pluralist and held both 
Tidcombe and Clare portions. The name is said to be Danish, 
being identical with Canute or Knut. For several generations 
the Newtes were an important factor in the ecclesiastical life of 
Tiverton. Thus Eichard was followed by his son John, who was 
rector of Tidcombe, and also of Clare portion. John again was 
succeeded in the Tidcombe living by his nephew Samuel (1716), 
whose son, also called Samuel, combined Tidcombe and Pitt 
(1742). Finally John Newte was rector of Tidcombe from 1782 
to 1795. Thus for more than 150 years continuously members of 
the Newte family were rectors of Tiverton. To return to Eichard 
Newte. He was the son of Henry Newte, Town Clerk of Tiver- 
ton, and he was educated at Blundell's School and at Exeter 
College, Oxford. His life reads like a chapter out of " John 
Inglesant " ; and from any point of view he must be regarded as 
one of the best clergymen who ever officiated in Tiverton. He 
was in Italy at the time of the siege, and on his return in 1646 he 
found his parsonage in ruins. It stood on the site of Clare 
House, which, however, except for a short time by the Eev. Henry 
Venn, has never been used as a rectory. In 1815 the property 
was sold for the redemption of the land tax ; and the present 
edifice was built in 1816. 

The plague was still raging when he returned, but Newte 
was indefatigable in discharging his duties. He preached at St. 
Peter's as long as there was anyone to hear him, and then 
held services in a field. His courage, however, went for nothing. 
He was a loyal adherent of the King and in theological matters a 
firm believer in Anglican doctrines. He had already, when in Italy, 
defended those doctrines against Eoman Catholics, and an 
animated controversy with some members of that communion 
affected, it is said, his plans of travel. One of the party, beaten 
apparently in argument, observed that he would give Newte an 
answer if they met at Eome. The Eector of Tiverton had 
intended to visit the Eternal City, but he was too well versed in 
the ways of the world not to perceive the covert threat. Accord- 
ingly he turned his steps homewards not however, in the 
direction of peace. In England, in his own parish, he was con- 
fronted by a new set of dangers. The Government had appointed 
certain '' tryers, " whose office it was to investigate the orthodoxy 
of the clergy according to presbyterian and republican standards. 
As may be imagined, Newte with his staunch Anglicanism did not 
come well out of the ordeal. A deputy, Mr. Lewis Stukely, was 
forced upon him, and at length he was deprived of both his livings. 


Preaching in St. Peter's for the last time before his expulsion, 
Newte observed that his doctrine was good, but had the misfortune 
to fall among thorns. 

Walker in his " Sufferings of the Clergy " refers to Newte 
in the section devoted to parish priests. He relates the following 
anecdotes : 

" Either at this or some other time of his appearance before 
the Committee, a Godly Sister of the Town Lockt the Door upon 
her Husband and would not suffer him to go out, when she 
understood he was to be an Evidence on Mr. Newte 's behalf. And 
yet Mr. Newte had attended this very Woman, at a time when no 
one else would venture to do it, and when she stood most in need 
of such a Charitable Visit ; being not only seized with the Plague, 
in the time of that Common Calamity, but under some Disturb- 
ance of Mind also 

" In the meantime, as the Committees performed their Part, so 
the Soldiers and Rabble were not wanting to play theirs, and by 
all the Methods of Violence and Outrage which they could think 
of, endeavoured to worry him out of his Possession as long as he 
continued to defend it. To this end they Order d sometimes Ten 
sometimes Twelve Soldiers to Quarter on him, and took care to 
pick out such among them as were the Lewdest and most 
Profligate Villains, and the greatest Enemies to the Clergy in the 
whole Regiment ; and when he was at length forced by these and 
other Methods to abscond, his Wife was threatened by the 
Commissioners in the Town, to be Thrown out of Doors, with her 
Tender Infants, into the Highway, if they would not Depart ; and 
the Mob of the Town were encouraged to make Alarms all Night 
at the Grates and Doors of the House several times, to Weary and 
Frighten her out by their perpetual Disturbances ; all which, with 
many more Indignities too tedious to Relate, the poor Gentle- 
woman bore for a long time with a great deal of Patience and 
Courage ; but at last she was forced to Remove, though even then 
she refused to deliver up the Possession, and stoutly told them, 
she knew no Right they had ; and if they entered there, it should 
be like Rogues as they were. However, when at length they 
broke in, notwithstanding this Provocation, they shewed her, as it 
must be owned, such a Piece of Mercy, as was not common in 
those Times : For they only threw the Corn out of the Barns into 
the Court which, it seems, they had no occasion for till the next 
Harvest, and some of it into the High-way, in the Midst of 
Winter : Whereas they used, either to give it their Horses, or 
secure it for the Intruder 

"While he was in Possession of that Office,* the Lecture-Day once 

* A lectureship at Ottery St. Mary of the value of 2U a year, which he 
obtained after his ejection from Tiverton. 


happen'd to be Coincident with that of Christmas ; and Mr. Newte 
who was so bold as to Preach on the Subject of the Nativity, in 
Prosecution of his Discourse, happen'd to mention that Text of 
St. John, Abraham rejoiced to see My Day, and he saiv it, and was 
glad : upon which a Fellow in the Congregation cried out aloud 
(as the fashion then was to disturb a Godly, as well as a Malig- 
nant Minister, \\i they did not like his Doctrine] What ! doth he make 
Abraham a Christmas-man ? And, in truth, it was such Preaching 
as this which occasioned his Removal from that place 

" These were some of the Troubles which this Excellent Person 
met with from the Hands of the Reformers ; but all of them can- 
not be recovered at this distance of time ; only in general, it is 
further to be added, that he was forced in the whole, to remove 
his Family no less than Seven times : and more particularly had 
once been certainly Murther'd, had not the Providence of God 
prevented him from going to Tivcrton (the Parsonage-House, 
where he lived, lying about a Mile out of Town) at that time to 
Officiate, as he had intended : for a Fellow who afterwards con- 
fessed it on his Death-Bed, had Waylaid him, with a full Reso- 
lution to have Murther'd him. Nor will it be thought that the 
Villain would in the least have Scrupl'd to perpetrate this Wicked 
Design, when it is known that he had Murther'd a Man before in 
Tiverton. Tho' the Reader may well be amazed to hear, that he 
had proposed to Bathe his Hands in the Blood of Mr. Newte 
also, when he is informed, that the Fellow being Tryd and 
Condemned for the Murther which he had accomplished, was saved 
from the Gallows, by the Interest of Mr. Newte, and his Eldest 
Brother, who procured his Pardon. How fit a Match this Fellow 
was for the Woman before mentioned, is easie to observe : But 
'tis not so easie to Parallel those Circumstances of Mr. Newte' s 
Troubles, from the Hands of one, whose Life he had Saved ; and 
of another, to save whom he had ventured his own Life" 

Newte, it is clear, had a good deal to contend with, and once at 
least was exposed to actual destitution. At the Restoration both 
livings were returned to him. He re-built Tidcombe Rectory, 
and there after his stormy life he remained quiet and secluded. 
He died, August 10, 1678, at the age of sixty. " He was a learned 
man and particularly skilled in the Eastern languages, as also in 
French and Italian. He had a high character for piety and 
meekness a polite preacher, an accomplished gentleman, an 
excellent scholar and a good divine. " Not a bad panegyric to 
have pronounced on one. Still more eloquent testimony is that 
supplied by the epitaph which his son Peter, in a spirit of filial 
piety, but surely unnecessary self-abasement, caused to be inscribed 
on a white tablet still visible in the outer wall of St. Peter's 
chancel : " Peter Newte, an unworthy son of the right worthy 


Eichard Newte, dyed June the 15th, 1720."* No members of the 
family are now living in Tiverton, but the name is preserved in 
connection with JSewte's Hill on the road to Cullompton, and the 
Newte Exhibition at Blundell's School. 

*The epitaphs of the Newte family are generally more stately, and in 
Latin. Here are some : 












COLL. EXON. Socius. 








The Anglicans, however, had not the monopoly of good men 
and it is only fair that, having referred to Eev. Richard Newte, 
I should allot some space to the Puritan incumbent who at the 
Restoration had to make room for him. Theophilus Polwhele 
was a Cornishman by birth and educated at Emanuel College, 
Cambridge, where he had as his tutor Bancroft, afterwards 
Archbishop of Canterbury, and where he became a Fellow. He 
was one of the committee for ejecting scandalous ministers in 
Cumberland and Durham, but having been appointed rector of 
Tidcombe and Clare, was himself ejected in 1660. In 1664 the 
Conventicle Act was passed, whereby meeting houses were declared 
illegal, and anyone convicted of attending them was subject to 
various penalties fines, imprisonment, or exile according to the 
quality of the offence. Polwhele was now to learn not only the 
instability of fortune, but, a still more bitter lesson, the treachery 
of man. One of his co-religionists during his time of prosperity 
was a merchant named Foot, but now that the wind no longer sat 
in his sail, his quondam acquaintance veered round, and became 
his most violent persecutor. This was particularly the case when 
Foot was Mayor. He interrupted Polwhele's sermons, called 
upon him to come down, and gave him in custody to the 
Sergeant. This hard usage however he survived, and in 1687 
after King James's proclamation of freedom, opened a meeting 
house on the site of the Congregational Chapel. Mr. Polwhele 
was the author of several works of a devotional and controversial 
nature. He died at a great age in 1689. 

I may fitly conclude this portion of my narrative by referring to 
a peculiar custom, not unlike that of Guy Fawkes' Day, which was 
formerly kept up here with great vigour, but owing to the " rowdy- 
ism " connected with it has within the present century been 
suppressed. This custom was a reminiscence of the time of which 
I have just been speaking, and in order that the reader may form 
a just conception of it, I think I cannot do better than quote 
from a graphic description which appeared, in 1853, in the Leisure 
Hour. This is what the writer says : 

" In the year 1810, and of course for many generations 



M. P. 

27 MAR. MAEI 1742. AETA.T: 57. 


previously, the 29th of May was as complete a holiday in this 
town as it could ever have been in any part of England since the 
first year of the Restoration. At early dawn the whole town was 
awakened by the furious clanging of church bells, and instead of 
rising to pursue their usual occupations, they had to turn out and 
sally forth into the neighbouring fields, woods, and hedgerows, 
where they set to work felling huge branches of oak from the 
trees, with which the locality abounded, and which they brought 
into the town on their shoulders to decorate the fronts of their 
houses. Woe to the luckless or drowsy tradesman who by the 
usual time of opening shop had not metamorphosed his shop-front 
into a green bower ! Oak-apples which had been carefully 
collected for many days previous were gilded or silvered and worn 
in the hat or button-hole by all who could procure them. 

" King Charles was personated by a rosy boy of two or three 
years of age, dressed in white, and decorated with ribbons or 
flowers, with a crown on his bead, and sitting in a compact bower 
made by interlacing oak branches, open in front, and carried by 
two men without coats or waistcoats, their shirt sleeves and hats 
decorated with ribbons ; on each side were his body guards, dressed 
in a similar way and armed with cudgels, with which they would 
repel the attacks of Cromwell, who, ever and anon, advanced to- 
wards the bower, yelling like a wild beast in search of his prey. 

" The exhibition usually halted at the houses of those most 
likely to contribute to the royal treasury, which was for very 
good reasons taken charge of by his Majesty in person ; a box 
being placed on the seat beside him for that purpose. The bower 
provided with legs was placed opposite the door or window, and 
the guards in broad Devonshire dialect struck up a song, known 
by every school boy 

' It was in tha year of forty and wan, 

When the meddaws an veealds wur all in thur bloom,' &c. 

The whole town was delivered up to the mercies of the mob. 
It was a day on which ruffianism may be said to have been at a 
premium ; the greatest ruffian being invariably selected from 
among a hundred or two of candidates to enact the part of Oliver 

" This historical personage made his appearance upon the stage 
about eleven o'clock in the day, by which time it was supposed 
that all unavoidable business might be transacted ; and no female 
dared venture forth after that hour. The appearance of Oliver 
was the general signal for fight, wherever he came. Imagine a 
brawny six-foot man, his face begrimed all over with a mixture 
of lamp black and oil, and surmounted by a prodigious shock of 
hair dripping with grease, the lank locks of which hung dangling 
over his savage eyes ; his body, like that of a prize-fighter, some- 
times naked to the waist, round which was tied a bag containing 


several pounds of the mixture with which his own skin, so far as 
it was visible, was anointed. This was Oliver Cromwell, and his 
mission was to catch hold of anybody and everybody that he could 
overtake, and, by forcing their heads into his capacious bag, make 
them free of the commonwealth, if they refused to come down 
with a ransom, the amount of which he fixed at his own discre- 
tion, according to the circumstances of his captive. As a fleet 
and powerful fellow was invariably chosen to play Oliver, it was 
of course necessary to take measures to prevent him from becom- 
ing, in the excitement of the chase, too indiscriminate in the 
bestowal of his favours. As he was pelted by the mob, and 
plentifully swilled with water, of which there are running streams 
in most of the streets, it is no wonder that he should lose his 
temper, and become really savage, after having played the tyrant 
and the target for a few hours. By way of restraint, therefore, 
he was tied round the waist with a stout rope about fifty yards 
long, the end of which was in charge of his Cabinet Council, con- 
sisting of half-a-dozen congenial spirits, who probably shared his 
profits, and who, if they chose, could moderate his pace or pull 
him up suddenly when in pursuit of unlawful prey-- such, for 
instance, as the parish doctor on a visit to a patient, or a magis- 
trate amusing himself with a sight of the popular sport. That 
they were not very particular in these exceptional cases may be 
gathered from the fact that we once saw the Reverend Caleb 
Colton, the author of ' Lacon ' and the ' Sampford Ghost,' who 
was a clergyman of Tiverton, and perfectly well known to every 
individual in the town, made captive by Oliver. The reverend 
gentleman suffered hideously from the grasp of the Protector, and 
only escaped a dive into the grease-bag by the prompt payment 
of a guinea. 

" It is not easy to imagine all the circumstances presented by 
this unique and disgraceful spectacle ; the uproar and tumult 
which swarmed round Oliver wherever he went the panic which 
seized the pursuing multitude when he turned and pursued them 
the insane yells and cries of encouragement when he had 
caught some unlucky or obnoxious individual and, above all, the 
hideous appearance of the wretch himself, when worn out with 
the toils of his disgusting occupation, and savage with the jeers 
and injuries of the mob. Between the green boughs that covered 
every house front, the windows were filled with spectators, among 
whom women and children looked on in safety upon a spectacle 
little calculated to inculcate the social or domestic virtues. 

" In our time Oliver held undisputed possession of the town 
until five o'clock in the afternoon, when his reign was at an end, 
and he was led off to retirement to count, and enjoy if he 
could, the fruits of his labours. After he disappeared, the more 
respectable inhabitants were at liberty to come forth from their 


" On the transportation of ' Eouser* ' who had been the rough 
representative of Cromwell for so many years, the whole drama 
languished. Some feeble attempts were made to revive it, but 
the taste of the populace for such sports was on the decline ; and 
a few indiscreet applications of ' smut ' brought magisterial 
authority to bear upon ' Old Oliver,' who, together with the 
Royal Charles, has altogether disappeared from these realms. 

" It may seem surprising at the first glance, that a custom so 
silly and puerile in its origin, and so hateful and immoral in its 
operation, should have survived in all its completeness through five 
or six generations, and lasted until our own day ; but the force of 
precedent will keep alive even greater abuses." 

I may add, what is perhaps less well known, that down, I 
believe, to the advent of the present Head Master it was the 
practice to hold the Blundell's Sports on the 29th of May, and 
" Oliver Cromwell." as a privileged person was regularly present on 
the occasion. In 1812, however, doubtless much to his chagrin 
he was refused admittance. On the same day the boys rose 
early in the morning for the purpose of stripping the hedges in 
order to adorn the masters' desks with greenery, all in allusion to 
the same event, the hiding of Charles II. in an oak-tree after the 
battle of Worcester. 

* I have attempted to learn something more respecting this interesting 
character, but my efforts have not been very successful. His real 
name was Joseph Rousewell, and his occupation was cutting up meat 
for butchers. He was of medium height, but very powerfully built, 
with dark hair and a not unpleasing cast of countenance. He was 
accustomed to sleep at the Workhouse, and during an altercation drew 
a knife on the master, a Mr. Collard. This led to his transportation, 
which seems to have been for life, as Tiverton saw him no more. I may 
further supplement the account in the Leisure Hour by stating that 
King Charles's body-guard wore white shirts and trousers, and sivords ; 
and that the gentleman who held the rope attached to the person of 
Rouser, was known by the name of " Tater-bag." 


When, in February of this year, an announcement was made in 
the Antiquary that the present work was in course of preparation, 
the Rev. Mr. Fletcher, Vicar of St. Michael's, Shrewsbury, wrote 
to me suggesting that in former histories of the town the Newtes 
had not received due attention. He enclosed a pedigree of the 
family, which, as the name frequently occurs in these pages, I 
gladly copy. 





Town Clerk of 

Visitation of Devon, 

Henry Newte = Alice 
of Tiverton, gent. ; b. 1609, d. 27 Oct. 
d. 20 Oct. 1670. 1668. 

d. young. 

d. young. 

d. young. 

Richard Newte Sarah dau. 

Gent: of Duval. 

of Roger 
6 Jan. 1678. 

Rev. Samuel Newte 
M.A.,Ball. Coll.,0xon ; 
rector of Tiverton, d. 

= Isabella 
sister of 
Taner of 
Clyst- St 

Rev. Francis == 

b. 1678; 
d. 1747. 

Rev. Samuel Newte = 
M.A. r OrielColl.,Oxon; 
rector of Bow, 1742 ; & 
of Tiverton ; b. at Tit- 
terton, Co. Denbigh, 
1718; d. 18 Feb., 1781. 

Anne Holwell=Isabella John Pitman=Mary 
dau. of rector of 
William Broadclyst. 
M.D., of 
d. 1794. 

Samuel Newte 

Florence = 
4th dau. of 
Sir Hugh 
Courtenay, Kt. 


Rev. John Newte = 
M.A. , of C.C.C.Oxon; 

dau. of 


rector of Tidcombe 
1782;d. 9 Dec., 1792. 

Thomas Newte = Amelia dau. 

of Tiverton, of Paris, 
& of Co. Glamorgan. 

of Robert Johnson 
of Gower-st. 





Tiverton at the 

1620 (cf. Harl. Soc. vi., 333.) 

b. 1611. 

Rev. Richard Newte = Thomasin 

M.A., Fellow of Exeter 
College, Oxford ; rector 
of Tiverton and Chaplain 
to Charles ii. ; bapt.24 Feb. 
16123; d. 10 Au<?. 1678. 

dau. of 

b. 1611. 

Rev. John Newte = 
M.A., Fellow of 
Balliol Col.,0xf ord ; 
rector of Tiverton ; 
b. 1656; d. 7 March 

dau. of 
Hore of 
Far ring- 
don ; d. 
13 Feb. 



Peter Henry 

of Hillands 

d. 15 June, 



Joseph Veal=Mary Harden= Martha 

Thomas Newte = 
of Gower Street, 
London ; d. 1808 
or 1809. 

Widow of 

The Rt. Hon. Sir = Eliza 

James Lewis d. 27 

Knight-Bruce. April 

Vice- Chancell or of 1 8 66 . 
England ; d. 7 
Nov. 1866. 

Colonel= Julia 



Charles Frederic = 
Newte Charles 
Captain in Newte 
the army ; b. 1828 ; d. 
d.!8....set35. 26May,1889 

Louisa Carol 
dau. of 

ine= Lewis Bruce 
Knight- Bruce, 
B,A.,J.P. ofRoe- 
hampton Priory, 
Surrey, b. 1820. 

Weech, Capt. 
62nd Regt. 

Ill 1 I 

Harold Edgar Horace Rose Ellen Rowena Gwendoline Evelyn Violet 

m. Nov. 1887 Frederica 

Rev. Frank Woolcott 
rector of Louisville, 
Pens, U.S.A. 




what light the return of Charles II. to his country and 
throne was regarded by the majority of the inhabitants 
of Tiverton, or whether any popular demonstrations attended 
the event, I have not been able to ascertain. In fact, the whole 
of my information is summed up in four entries in the church- 
wardens' accounts, viz : 


" Paid the Eingers for Einginge when News was broughte to 
Towne that the L. Monke was made Gen. &c. and being urg'd 
by severall of the Towne of Good Acct. to set about it." iia. vid. 


" Paid for Einging when his Matie was proclaymd " vs. vid. 

" Pd. for Einging when his Matie came into England " vs. 

" Paid for Einging the Thanksgiving Daye " vs. 

The readers of these memoirs will think that they are never to 
hear the last of the Tiverton fires. These tragedies were such 
orthodox occurrences in the history of the town that we have 
thought fit to devote a whole chapter to the most memorable of 
them. The reader, however, must by no means suppose that the 
account which has been there given is exhaustive ; and if his 
patience is tried by the old story cropping up again and again, let 
him reflect what the actual experience must have been Owners 
and occupiers, to say nothing of those who were expected by 
handsome subscriptions to make up for other people's carelessness, 
must have found these episodes rather worse than monotonous. 
Some of the more nervous, one cannot help thinking, must have 
lived in perpetual dread of being burnt alive, or, if their fears did 
not extend so far, of losing a large part of their income or stock- 


in-trade through the machinations of Vulcan. However that 
may have been, in November, 1661, the cry of " Fire " was again 
heard in the town. As in 1598, the origin of the mischief was in 
Westexe, and whether she was to blame for it or not, the fire 
broke out in the house of a certain good dame, named Camp, who, 
we also learn, was a widow. This was at one o'clock in the 
morning, and as there was a high wind blowing, in less than three 
hours, forty five dwelling houses, besides out-houses and work- 
shops were burnt to ashes. Westexe was then, as it is now, 
chiefly inhabited by working people fullers, weavers, cloth- 
workers and others and the loss in tools, household goods, &c., 
was estimated at over .2,770. The King, following the good 
example of his grandfather, issued a brief, and large subscriptions 
were made for the benefit of the sufferers. In 1676 a similar 
disaster befel, which, though less serious as regards the destruc- 
tion of houses, was attended with fatal consequences to the 
inmates. Blundell (p. 1 8) thus records the event : " Among the 
rest of these sad accidents which happened this year, many also 
claim a share in our pity ; for about the month of September, 
another fire happened near the pound, on the south side of Gold 
street, which broke out in the night time in the house of one 
William Jones, which burnt his house, and two others adjoining, 
as also two of the said Jones's children." 

This appears to be the most suitable place for alluding to trade 
tokens, which were freely circulated in Tiverton during the 
period of the Commonwealth and the first eighteen years of the 
reign of King Charles II. The earliest date on the Devonshire 
tokens is 1651, and one of them, as will be seen by the list, was 
possessed by Tiverton. So far as is known, there were issued in 
this county 325 varieties, of which 55 were half-pence, and the rest 
farthings, there being no pence, but in London and some counties 
of England the latter were issued, and in Ireland they greatly 
predominated. Tiverton had seven kinds of half-pence. Very few 
of the farthings had their value impressed on them, but every half- 
penny had, the latter part of the word been generally spelt with 
one N. We may observe in passing that the same antiquated 
style of spelling is still retained in every " Book of Common 
Prayer " printed at the Oxford University Press, even to the 
latest editions. The word Peny (so spelt) occurs in the gospels 
the fourth Sunday in Lent and the 23rd Sunday after 

Although now called Trade tokens, they were not only issued 
by those engaged in retail trade and innkeepers, but by the large 
manufacturers of that day, doubtless for the payment of wages, 
and even, occasionally, by persons in a higher sphere of life. For 
instance, one was struck for Sir Charles Sedley, Lord of a Manor 
in Kent ; another for Joseph Sayer, rector of Newbury. This 
good man had the appropriate device of an open Bible on his 


token. Two of the Tiverton ones were issued by Mayors of the 
borough. The letters J and U are never found on any of the 
tokens, but as in the case of other coins, their places are always 
supplied by I and V. When there are three initials on a local 
token, the second is that of the wife's Christian name ; when only 
two, it may be presumed that the issuer was either a widower or 
a bachelor. We do not know how far those tokens circulated out 
of their own locality, but probably like local five pound notes at 
the present day, they would pass as money in any neighbouring 
places where their issuers were known. Tiverton tokens have 
been found at Exeter, and a few years ago a Cullompton token 
was dug up in St. Peter's Churchyard. In 1672 a stringent 
proclamation was published ordering under heavy penalties that 
no more tokens should be coined or circulated, and what was very 
much more to the purpose, a large quantity of copper half-pence 
and farthings were issued by the Government sufficient to supply 
the whole kingdom. These new coins, being nearer the intrinsic 
value for which they were issued (one of the farthings weighing 
down nine of Charles the First's), quickly superseded the private 
tokens, which from that time have been confined to museums and 
the cabinets of virtuosi. With the exception of Exeter and 
Plymouth, Tiverton, owing perhaps to its staple-trade of cloth mak- 
ing, issued more local tokens than any other place in the county. 
Honiton comes next with twelve varieties. In the following list 
O means obverse, R reverse. It will be observed that some are 
not dated, perhaps for want of space. 


1. O. THOMAS . ALLDREAD the Clothworkers' Arms. 

R. OF . TIVERTON. 1667 His HALF PENY . . |d. 

A descendant of this family was living a few years ago, 
who could remember his father being in the cloth- 
trade, which was ruined by the first Napoleon blockading 
the ports of Holland. He spelt the name " Aldred " 

2. O. FRANCIS . BELLAMY A fleece. 

R. OF. TIVERTON. (16)64 F.B. .. .. ^d. 

3. O. RICHARD . BELLAMY A fleece. 

R. OF . TIVERTON. 1661 R.H.B. . . . . d. 

Doubtless from the device, these two issuers were woollen 


R. IN . TIVERTON. 1666 I.E.C. . . . . d. 

I.C. was Churchwarden of Tiverton in 1653. The office 
of churchwarden is an important one at Tiverton and is 
usually filled by men of good local standing. In addition 
to other duties, the churchwarden is legal custodian and 
manager of several important charities. 


5. O. THOMAS . DAYMAN The family arms 

E. OF. TIVEBTON- (16)58 T.A.D. .. .. |d. 

6. O. WILLIAM . DAYMAN Arms as last. 

E. IN. TIVEBTON. 16(66) HlS HALF-PENY ., ^d. 

The name is spelt " Deyman " in the Parish Eegister and 
other old documents. W.D., who was churchwarden in 
1666, was a clothier. 

7. O. WILLIAM . DAYMAN Three diamonds. 

E. BABBINTON . TIVEBTO N W.A.D. . . . . d. 

Barrington is one of the old streets of the town. 

8. O. WILLIAM . DIAMAN Three diamonds. 

E. IN. TIVEBTON. 1664 W.A.D. .. .. |d. 

From the likeness of the device on the obverse and the 
initials on the reverse, it is clear that this token was 
issued by the same person as the preceding. 

9. O. THOMAS . FOWLEB The Mercers' Arms. 

E. IN. TIVEBTON. 1652 T.F. .. .. |d. 

He was acting churchwarden in 1647, and mayor of the 
borough in 1665. 


E. His . HALFE . PENNY (in three lines) A shuttle ^d. 
We learn from the old register that his wife's name was Euth 

11. O. lOHN . GODDABD . OF 1657. 

E. TIVEBTON . DEVONSH B I.S. conjoined . . d. 

J.Gr. was acting churchwarden in 1641. He was also one 
of the trustees of Chilcott's Charity and his autograph 
appears in their old account books. He died in 1663, 
and it is recorded on his tomb that he was " some time 
Mayor of the Borough." 

12. O. FBANCIS.HOW. 1659 A cloth brush (?) 

E. IN . TYVEBTON F.A.H. . . . . . . |d. 

13. O. AT . THE . EED . LION A Lion Eampart. 

E. IN . TIVBTON. 1667 T.I. . . . . id. 

This inn. with the same sign, was in existence for more 
than two hundred years. 

14. O. GBEGOBY . MATBY Three moor-cocks. 

E. IN. TIVEBTON. 1667 G.S.M. .. .. id. 

Probably the moor-fowl were a punning device in allusion 

to the issuer's name. We learn from the Old Church 

Eegister that he was a clothier, and that his wife's 

Christian name was Sidwell. 


E. IN.TIVEETON. 1666 His HALF. PENY. .. d. 
We learn from the Parish Eegister that he was a clothier. 
His name is there spelt " Oatway." 


16. O. IOHN . PATEE 1661. 

K. IN . TIVEBTON I.P. .. .. k . id. 

17. O. IOHN . PATT . OF A cock. 

E. TIVEBTON . 1664 HlS HALFE . PENNY. . . . |d. 

There can be no doubt that this was the man who issued 
the farthing. The name is still to be found in the 
town, but it is now spelt " Patey." 

18. O. THOMAS . SAMFOBD A fleur-de-lys. 

E. IN . TIVEBTON T.A.S. .- .. .. d. 

He was acting churchwarden in 1669. 

19. O. AQUILA . SKINNEB Three fleurs-de-lys. 

E. OF. TIVEBTON. 1651 A.C.S. .. .. |d. 

20. O. AQUILA .SKINNEB Three fleurs-de-lys. 

E. OF.TTVEBTON. 1651 A.C.S. .". .. |d. 

A.S. was churchwarden in 1637, and a mercer. 

21. O. EICH . STBANGAB . TALLOW A man making candles. 

E. CHANLEB . IN . TIVEBTON E.P.S. . . . . $d m 

22. O. IOHN . VPCOTT 1657. 

E. OF . TIVEBTON I. V. .. .. .. |d. 

He was churchwarden in 1645. His family afterwards 
removed to Cullompton and took their trade of clothiers 
with them. 

23. O. WILLIAM . WABBEN . OF- -W.T.W. 

E. TIVEBTON . MEBCEB . 1664 His . HALF . PENY d. 
The old register informs us that his wife's name was 


E. TIVEBTON . 1666 T.K.W. . . . . . . |d. 

We learn from the Church Eegister that he was a clothier. 

25. O. THOMAS . WHICHAB A diamond. 

E. OF. TIVEBTON. 56 T.K.W. .. .. id. 

26. O. RIOHABD. WOOD 1663. 

He was churchwarden in 1670. 

Harding gives a slightly different account of the first of these 
tokens, and, as I think it possible that my authority may have 
been misled by the fact of Alldread's descendants having been 
clothiers, I will state also the former's opinion on the subject. 
He describes the token as bearing on a shield a chevron charged 
with five cloves between two compasses or callipers, dilated, and 
a pine apple erected. His friend, Captain Short's verdict on the 
point was brief and emphatic " evidently a grocer, probably a 
dealer in all sorts of wares." Then expanding in the genial 
society of Captain Short, or moved by a passing reminiscence of 
his own youthful days, Harding goes on in a strain very unusual 


with him, to refer to the jovial days of the Royal Charles, of 
Buckhurst, Rochester, and other Court rakes, of the smiles of 
Castlemaine, and the tiny room of Nell, of the bewitching 
Stewart, the blushing Bagot, and tender-eyed Temple ; when, it is 
said, the term " grocer " had many ramifications. The more 
ancient grocers, it appears, were called " pepperers " from their 
selling drugs and spices. 

Meanwhile the Test Act had been passed, and in 1682 some 
thirteen members of the Tiverton Corporation rendered them- 
selves obnoxious to it by not taking the test and corporation oaths 
and attending the sacrament before entering on their duties. 
They were, however, pardoned. The next year the Corporation 
surrendered their charter to the King, on the plea of receiving 
from him a new grant. They had their desire, His Majesty 
appointing Henry Blagdon, Mayor, Henry Monk, Duke of 
Albemarle, Recorder, while several new members were added to 
the Corporation. In a MS. written by Oliver Peard it is stated 
that for three years after this the Corporation wore black gowns. 
It is rather difficult to get at the meaning of all this mummery, 
but it certainly seems as if the Corporation had not been entirely 
re-assured by the forgiving conduct of King Charles towards the 
erring members, and to show that they were good churchmen and 
loyal subjects voluntarily placed themselves at his disposal It is 
possible, however, that the King had made a formal demand to 
this effect, in accordance with a large scheme for sapping the 
independence of the people and getting the whole of their insti- 
tutions into his own hands. Certainly this case did not stand 
alone, and the spirited resistance offered by the Corporation of 
London to the King's claim to nominate their officers is one of 
the most memorable events of the year. The black gowns, I 
suppose were the modern equivalent for sack-cloth, 

It is a far cry from municipal penance to the state of the river, 
but the average local history shows a marked tendency to be 
abrupt. Moreover, it is not every winter, nor one winter in a 
century, which is so severe as that of 1683, when for ten weeks 
people were able to cross the Exe dry-shod. I doubt if the 
river has ever been frozen so long, at any rate since the glacier 

The year 1685 is notable as the date of Monmouth's rebellion. 
Whether any of the inhabitants of Tiverton took part in this 
business, is uncertain, but for the gratification of the loyal and 
the terrorizing of the disloyal, the head of a Dissenting Minister 
who had been executed at Taunton was conveyed to the town. It 
was here fixed to the Market Cross and four quarters appertaining 
to other rebels were exposed on poles erected, one near the work- 
house, another at Waldron's Almshouses, a third in Westexe 
South, and a fourth on the road to Bampton. Such a happy and 
civilised mode of dealing with disaffected subjects might have 


been expected to bear fruit in warm and zealous attachment to 
their lawful sovereign, but, strange to say, it did not. In 
1688 the Prince of Orange landed at Torbay, and notwithstanding 
that he came with the avowed intention of dispossessing his 
Eoyal father-in-law, was speedily joined by many noblemen and 
gentlemen of the neighbourhood. A number of the inhabitants 
of Tiverton also testified to their dislike of autocracy and the 
Church of Eome by rallying to the Prince's standard. Soon after 
this a troop of calvary belonging to the invading army came to 
Tiverton under the command of Captain Cunningham, and one of 
his first acts was to order the removal of the festering human 
remains and their decent burial in St. Peter's Churchyard. If 
the poor minister and his friends had been hanged expressly 
"pour encourager les autres" the result would hardly have been 
different. The supporters of civil and religious liberty at any 
rate were not discouraged, for, as we all know, the end of this 
matter was that the grim and saturnine James had to make the 
best of his way out of the Kingdom, and, after lording it for a 
short time in Ireland, to accept a pension from King Lewis of 
Prance, and finally, to die in exile. For the rest of the acts of 
King James, are they not written in Macaulay's " History of 
England " ? 

The second visit of the deliverers to Tiverton was not quite 
of such a pleasant description, being indeed little better than 
a raid. It seems that the Prince of Orange was in need of 
horses and despatched a messenger to the neighbourhood to make 
enquiries on the subject. As a solatium for his trouble this 
emissary pocketed a guinea, which he may be fairly said to have 
earned, for no less than a hundred horses were driven off for 
employment in the army. As for the owners, their feelings do 
not seem to have been much respected. They either received 
nothing, or merely a nominal sum, or promises lighter than 
vanity. In connection with this foray (I trust it is no breach of 
military etiquette to call it so) a good story is told of an ancestor 
of Mr. Anstey, late of Jurishayes. He had missed a fine horse, and 
on sending his servant to Tiverton, was informed that some 
soldiers of the Prince of Orange had taken it. Thereupon he 
hastened into the town and on arriving at the " Old Bow," a 
public house near Slee's Almshouses in St. Peter-street, found his 
good steed, together with many others in charge of the soldiers. 
He applied to the officer, who said " Oh ! it is your horse is it ? 
Well, if you come to Exeter next week, you shall be paid for him 
in ducatoons." (A ducatoon is a large Dutch coin, value about 
five shillings). The officer did not speak very good English, at 
any rate he did not succeed in making himself understood, for 
Mr. Anstey, who had never heard of ducatoons, replied " I wish 
you luck with the horse ; it is not worth my while to be going 
into Exeter for a duck or two," and immediately took his leave. 


In 1691 the parishioners were called upon to raise 108 foot- 
soldiers and 50 cavalry. A similar claim had been made in 1650, 
during the time of the Commonwealth, and possibly in the 
interim. These two instances, however, are vouched for by 
ancient parchment rates in what was formerly the Hospital chest. 
The documents also show how the cost was distributed. Every- 
one possessing an estate in lands or houses of the value of .50 
annually or 600 in goods or chattels was compelled to raise and 
provide for one foot-soldier. A person who had less property or 
rental was required to unite with his neighbours, and they, out of 
their joint possessions, which were not to exceed the sum 
mentioned, had likewise to support a foot-soldier. Each district 
had a principal, who was answerable for the amount in question. 
Thus anyone rated at 3 2s. 6d. contributed ^th f ^e cos ^ f 
supporting one foot-soldier, and the happy owner of 225 
stock, six times that amount. The cavalry were provided, in 
the same proportion, by estates in the country. 

The year following the tradesmen of the town formed a guild or 
union, for which they obtained a charter from William and Mary. 
It was granted to them in terms, which, while flattering to their 
self-importance, required perhaps in some cases an interpreter 
to be understood : Rex et Regina erexerunt quoddam Corpus 
corporatum et politicum per nomen de le Masters, Wardens, Assistants, 
and Commonalty of Mercers, and Wollen and Linnen Drapers in 
Tiverton, in Com. Devonia, Originalia. Anno 4- Rotulo 4- The 
acts and ordinances of the fraternity were submitted to the Lord 
Chief Justice, Sir John Holt and Chief Baron Turton, and having 
been approved by them, received their seals, 25th July, 1692. 
Among other regulations were the following : 


It is Ordayned, Ordered, Agreed and Established, that there 
shall be holden once in every Moneth at least, or oftener if need 
soe require, one Courte or Sessions of and for the Assembly of 
the said Master, Wardens, & Assistants, or the Major of them, 
for hearing, deciding, and determineing of all Controversyes, and 
Debates, of or concerneing the said severall Artes, Trades, or 
Mysteries, and for making free, bindeing, presenting, turneing 
over of Apprentices, and for the good continuance and execution 
of the lawf ull and good Orders, Ordinance and Eules of the same 
Fraternity, and for the lawfull punishment or Correction of 
Misdoers, Offenders, and Breakers of the same Orders, Eules and 


It is Ordeyned, Ordered. Agreed, & Established, that on the 
Fifth Day of November in every Yeare, there shall be a Festival 


kept by the said Master, Wardens, and Assistants of the said 
Company, who for that purpose are to bee summoned together by 
the Beadle at the Cost and Charges of the Stocke of the said 
Company ; to bee kept in such place and manner as the Master, 
Wardens, and Assistants for the tyrne being, or the Major parte 
of them shall appoynte. 


It is ordered, ordeyned, agreed, and Established, that noe 
Grocer, Mercer, Linnen and Woollen Draper, nor noe Freeman 
that is or hereafter shall bee Free of this Company, shall have, 
Eetayne, or keep in his or theire service above the number of Two 
Apprentices at any one tyme untill the Eldest of the said 
Apprentices shall have served Five Yeares at the least from the 
tyme of his being bound Apprentice or one of the said Two 
Apprentices shall bee beyond the Seas in the service of his 
Master, nor shall have or take any Apprentice that was not 
Borne" within the King and Queen's Obeysance. Nor shall keep 
in his, her, or theire Service any Person unbound to doe the 
Service of an Apprentice above th space of Three Months. Nor 
shall any member of the said Company take or bind to himselfe 
any person that is marryed. And whosoever shall offend in any 
parte of this Ordeynance shall Forfeit and pay to the said 
Master, Wardens, and Assistants to the use of the said Fraternity 
the 8ume of Five Shillings per Diem, of lawfull Money of England 
for Every such Offence, to be in default of payment thereof 
recovered and Levyed in such manner as is hereinafter appoynted . 


It is ordered, ordeyned, agreed, decreed, and Established 
that if any person or persons useing or following any of the Trades 
of Grocer, Mercer, Linnen or Woollen Draper shall bee desirous 
to bee made free and admitted a member of this Company, not 
having served his Apprenticeshipp of Seaven Teares ; That then 
in such Case by the advice of the Master, Wardens, and Courte of 
Assistants held for that purpose, the saide Courte of Assistants 
may order and appoynte such person or persons to be admitted a 
Freeman, and Member of the said Company, such person or 
persons soe to be admitted, payeing or causeing to be paid unto 
the Master for the tyme being, to and for the use of the said 
Company or Fraternity, such surne as shall be appointed by the 
said Master, Wardens, and Assistants not exceeding Forty 


It is ordered, agreed, ordeyned, decreed, and established that 
all and every Sonn and Sonns of Freemen of this Company, being 


of the Age of One and Twenty Teares (not haveing served an 
Apprenticeshipp) shall be admitted into the Freedome of this 
Company, upon the reasonable request of such Freeman's Sonn, and 
thereby to Injoye all the Imunityes and Privelidges, that any 
other Member of this Company doth or may Injoye and have, 
payeing for such Admission the Sume of Forty Shillings to the 
Master for the tyme being, to goe and bee to the Publique Stocke 
of the said Society or Company. 


It is ordered, agreed, ordeyned, decreed, & established, That 
if any Person or Persons, Members of the said Fraternity, shall 
unfittingly or undecently behave himselfe in the Courte of the 
Fraternity upon any Assembly, either by Words or Actions, such 
Person soe offending, shall forfeite to the Master, Wardens, and 
Assistants for the tyme being any Sume not exceeding the Sume 
of Tenn Shillings to bee Levyed as hereafter is expressed. 


You shall be True to Our Sovereigne Lord and Ladye, King 
William and Queen Mary. You shall be good and true unto the 
Fraternity of Grocers, Mercers, Linnen and Woollen Drapers, 
whereof You bee now Master, And shall truely and indifferently 
governe all the Brethren and others of the said Fraternity whereof 
you bee now Master for the tyme being, to the best of your 
power and skill. You shall keep, mainetaine, and put in exe- 
cution, all the good and lawfull Acts and Ordinances of the said 
Fraternity and all the Breakers of the same You shall as farre as 
justly you may, correcte and punish, with the Advice of the 
Wardens and Assistants of the said Fraternity for the time 
being, according to the Quallity and Quantity of his and theire 
severall Offences ; And the Fines and Penaltyes imposed, or 
ordeyned upon such the Breakers thereof, You shall doe your 
best Endeavour to be duely levyed and raised. You shalf cause 
all the Rents and Revenues and Profitts due to the said Fraternity, 
which you shall receive in the tyme of your Mastershipp, together 
with all the payments for and on behalfe of the said Fraternity, 
to be truely written, and true Accompt thereof You shall give to 
your Successor, Master of the said Fraternity, upon the Day that 
shall be appoynted for the delivery of the said Accompt, together 
with all Charters, Deeds, Writeing Escripts, Muniments, the 
Common Seale, and all other Goods and Chatties belonging to 
the said Fraternity, S"ou shall deliver to your Successor, Master 
of the said Fraternity. And all other Things that to your office 
as Master of the said Fraternity belongeth, You shall doe and 
perform to the best of your Wisdome and Discretion, SOB HELP 
You GOD. 


The officers of the guild were appointed annually, hut the 
institution was short-lived, the " orders, ordinations, agreements, 
decrees, and establishments " proving too stringent for the test of 
actual experience. 

In a previous chapter I announced my intention to give some 
account of St. Peter's Church as it appeared after the Eestoration ; 
and I now proceed to redeem my promise. It is very evident 
that at this period the interior underwent many alterations, and 
not a few of the additions which were then made have since been 
removed. When I last referred to the subject, I omitted to state 
that the church was embellished by a variety of armorial bearings, 
some of which remain; but Westcote, in addition to these, 
mentions those of Bohun, St. John, Spencer, Camoys, Brian, 
Copleston, Clavel, Champernoun, and others, most of them 
impaled with the Courtenays. He adds "all those foregoing 
appear ancient ; those that follow are lately set up " i.e. the arms 
of Walrond, Frauncis, Sharpe, Pycott, Cholmley, Dimont, West, 
Acland, etc. These coats of arms were removed during the 
restoration of 1819, and with them a number of ancient and 
interesting epitaphs. At the same time the groined ceiling in the 
north and south aisles was destroyed, the older part of which 
dated from the time of Charles II. The pulpit also belonged to 
this epoch and was a notable object. It was decorated with the 
arms of distinguished families painted in separate squares, and on 
the sounding-board was a representation of the archangel blowing 
the trumpet at the last day. At the west end of the church was 
a large gallery, built in 1657, over which was a curious old paint- 
ing of the inside of a church. In the centre of the picture 
was the face of the clock. Another gallery was erected in 1706. 
It was situated over the main entrance and occupied by the 
masters and boys of Blundell's School. It was called, 1 think, the 
" Latin School Gallery." At the east end of the south aisle was 
an old pew with railings where " useful books for the common 
people to read or hear read " were kept. Thus Dunsford. As a 
matter of fact, however, we hear of only one book, Fox's " Book 
of Martyrs " which was left by Eichard Capron of Tiverton, 
clothier, to be chained or kept in some convenient place in the 
parish church for the sake of those who were well disposed and 
desirous to reap benefit and comfort thereby. Dunsford, in 
recording the bequest, adds the following note : " Tradition tells 
us that Mr. Fox's book of Martyrs was frequently read from the 
desk on the right side of the chancel door of the parish church, 
by the direction of the donor, to the people assembled before it, 
which proved an excellent antidote to popery." At Winsham 
Church, Somerset, a curious old black-letter copy of the first 
edition of Fox's work is chained, even to this day, to a pedestal in 
the chancel. From the roof of the middle aisle of St. Peter's 
hung in Dunsford's time, a large candelabrum, which he describes as 


very curious and magnificent. It jvas presented to the parishioners 
by Mr. Nathaniel Thome, Churchwarden, in 1707. Its weight was 
7 cwt. 1 qr. and its cost, including carriage, gilding, and iron-work, 
70 14s. lOd. Until their removal in 1820, the Corporation 
seats, commonly called " the old twenty four," were on the north 
side of the church. They were erected by Oliver Peard as church- 
warden in 1710. It seems to be generally assumed that before 
this the august body mingled with the- ordinary congregation. 
This. I think, is a mistake. The technical phrase applied to 
the Corporation in their churchgoing capacity was " the Company," 
and, unless I am very much deceived, I have met with the term 
more than once in a book of churchwardens' accounts which I 
unearthed at St. Peter's last year, and in which all or most of the 
items are anterior to the eighteenth century. Where the 
original seats were located, 1 have no means of knowing not 
improbably on the north side of the church. Bounding the 
churchyard on the east and south-east, says Dunsford, were the 
wool-chapel, charity schools, and church-house. It would appear, 
however, that these were not separate buildings. The wool- 
chapel, as I had occasion to remark in my last chapter, was a 
repository for wool and woollen yarn which were brought there 
every market day for purposes of sale. The " church-house," 
strictly so called, consisted of two rooms, situated over the wool- 
chapel, one of which was used for meetings of the parishioners. 
The other was appropriated as a school-room for the charity 
children, but as this is a subject which will claim our attention 
presently, 1 forbear to allude to it here. 

The organ was purchased by subscription in 1696 and 
was placed in the rood loft. It was opened on the 13th of 
September, when the Rev. John Newte preached a sermon which 
he afterwards published under the title of " The Lawfulness and 
Use of Organs in the Christian Church." His text was taken 
from the latter part of the 4th verse of the hundred and fiftieth 
Psalm : " Praise him with stringed instruments and organs." It 
is evident from the will of William Selake (see p. 46) where mention 
is made of the " orgones " that instrumental music had been pro- 
vided at an earlier date, but it seems likely that the misguided 
zeal of Puritan iconoclasts had relegated the " orgones " to limbo. 
The instrument subscribed for in 1696 probably had three 
manuals, but it is summarily dismissed by Dunsford as ' an organ 
of common metal pipes." It has been variously ascribed to Jacob 
Snetzler, to Christian Smith, and to Bernardt Schmidt, better 
known perhaps as Father Smith. Formerly the name on the 
organ was " Snetzler "* but there is nothing to show when it was 
inscribed there. Newte in an appendix to his sermon makes the 
following statement: "The organ was built by Mr. Christian 

* Now the words are " Built A.D., 1696, by Bernardt Schmidt." 


Smith, of Hart Street, Bloomsbury.' This seems plain enough, but 
Harding suggests as one way of reconciling the discrepancy that 
the organ was purchased from Mr. Smith and that he placed it in 
the church. This is extremely probable. If Newte had written 
later and had not been personally interested in the affair, one 
would have been tempted to believe that there was some confusion 
between the names Christian Smith and Bernardt Schmidt, for 
there is evidence that at least part of the work is that of the 
celebrated maker. It is remarkable, however, that in one of the 
stops in which his name has been identified (the stopped diapason 
in the great organ) a good deal of sapwood has been employed; a 
circumstance which is inconsistent with his reputation for careful- 
ness in the selection of his materials. Father Smith came over to 
England about 1660 from Germany, and after making a great 
many organs for London, the principal cathedral cities, some of 
the colleges in both Universities and several country churches, 
died in England A.D. 1708. Burney in his " History of Music" 
says, " he was so tender of his reputation as never to waste his 
time in trying to mend a bad pipe either of wood or metal, but if 
it had any radical defect, he instantly threw it away and made 
another." This in a measure accounts for the equality and sweet- 
ness of his stops as well as the soundness of his pipes to this day. 
In 1776 the organ was thoroughly repaired and the front pipes 
regilded. In 1826 it was removed to a gallery at the west end of 
the church, and in 1842 it became a pedal organ by the addition 
of a pedal stop 16 ft. open diapason. In 1845 the whole instru- 
ment was carefully repaired and revoiced by a Mr. Bishop, of 
London. A few years later the gallery was removed and the 
organ was placed on the floor under the Tower arch, where it was 
heard to great advantage. At the memorable restoration in 1853- 
56 it was again removed, this time to a chamber built for the 
purpose in the North Aisle. In 1867 it was carefully examined 
by Mr. Henry Willis, an organ-builder of London, who 
recommended the entire replacement of its mechanism and the 
introduction of the more modern features of organ-building. 
Accordingly in that year the instrument was completely 

It is not known when the chancel was first built, but the ab- 
sence of any piscina near the altar makes it probable that this 
part of the church is comparatively modern. The battlements, 
at any rate, were added by the Eev. John Newte, in 1709. Each 
compartment contained emblems and mottoes, the order being as 

1. Primo quaerite Regnum Coelorum. 

2. Achievement of the Eev. John Newte : Femme, or, a bend 

azure, bearing three fleurs-de-lys of the field. 

3. Arms of the Eev. Eichard Newte : impaling, argent, a 
bridge embattled, gules, with a staff and pennon, or 
Motto, " Pugilem claraverat." 


4. An open book, having on the two leaves " In verbo tuo 
spes mea." 

5. A death's head and cross bones. Motto, ' ' Resurgamus." 

6. A celestial crown. Motto, ' Vincent! dabitur." 

7. Achievement of the Hev. John Newte. Motto, " Dabis et 
aggressu Laer Legis neo F." 

8. Memento quattuor novissima. 

9. Dom : H. P. S. John Newte, hujus Ecclesiae Sector, 1709. 
Mr. Newte also by his will dated 10th January, 1715, bequeathed 

one hundred books in folio, fifty in quarto, and a hundred smaller 
volumes to form the nucleus of a parish library. These works 
were all of a very solid character, but none of them particularly 
rare. The library, however, contains one extremely valuable book 
an illuminated missal. In Harding' s time it was a mystery 
what had become of this treasure, and as the catalogue states that 
it was kept out of the church by the clerk to be shown to 
strangers, it was feared that it had been lost beyond recovery. 
Quite recently, however, thanks to the Eev. G. D. Shenton, who 
has taken great pains to set the library in order, the missing MS. 
was brought to light. It was found in the vestry, where the rest 
of the volumes lie ranged on high shelves only accessible by a 
ladder. This disposal of them, though highly inconvenient, is 
not the result of malice prepense, the vestry having formerly 
consisted of an upper and lower room. Mr. Shenton gives the 
following account of the missal, which was the gift of Walter 
Collis, precentor of Exeter, who added thereto 100s. for the 
benefit of the Church : 

" The volume is a quarto, and a note in pencil at the end 
says it was ' repaired by Clerk Sharland in 1830.' At intervals 
there are to be seen pencil-marks from one to thirteen, probably 
in Sharland's hand, and denoting the order for binding. This 
makes it seem likely that the MS. was in a very loose state 
before it was bound. This is also attested by the fact that, 
although these numbers are placed generally at an interval 
of eight leaves, yet there are three leaves missing, and two 
places, i.e., between v. and vi. and between vi. and vii. below, 
where it is possible that a whole set of eight leaves has been lost. 
The contents are roughly as follows : I. A Table of Eclipses 
of Sun and Moon, a Calendar, and a Diagram of the signs of the 
Zodiac. II. The Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but with a 
leaf lost at beginning, and commencing with the hymn Quam terra 
pontus III. The Seven Penitential Psalms. IV. Litany. V. 
Vigils of the Dead, ending abruptly with Ps. cxix. 15, VI. Eight 
leaves containing Prayers in a lighter ink. VII. The Abbreviated 
Psalter of St. Jerome, ending with Ps. cxliii. Then two prayers, 
a shortened and paraphrased account of the Crucifixion, St. John 
xix., and a prayer. 

There is a paper gummed on the covers at the beginning, in 


modern writing, giving a less full table of contents, and with this 
statement : ' At the beginning are prefixed the Kalendar and 
portions of the tables of the eclipses of the sun and moon by John 
Somour, written by William of Worcester at the instance of 
Eichard Roper (to whom the book most probably originally be- 
longed), and dated 14 August, 1438. The book is imperfect at 
the beginning and the end, and the ' Horse ' are preceded by some 
offices in irregular order. Executed in England between 1435- 
1440. (Signed) E. L.' ' E. L.' stands for Edward C. Leiron, one 
of the librarians of the British Museum. He obtains his infor- 
mation about the date from a footnote to the table of eclipses, 
which runs (if I read it right) : ' Exemplarium Calendarie . . 
(?) fratris Johanni Somor, scriptum Bristol* per manum Willim 
Worcestre ad instantian Ricardi Roper, Anno Domini 1438.' But 
there must be something wrong about it, for William of Worcester 
was only twenty -three years old in 1438, and had never yet been 
to Worcester, so could not very well have been called anything 
but plain Botoner. He had left Cambridge, I believe, where he 
' scientia astronomica prassertim inclaruit/ so it was natural that 
Roper should have employed him at the MS., but he cannot have 
been called Worcester then. How can this be explained ? The 
tables of the eclipses extend from 1433 to 1460 (sun), and 1439 
to 1462 (moon)." 

Among the features of interest which have disappeared from 
the Church are a number of tables describing the public dona- 
tions. These were fixed to the pillars of the middle aisle, in 
1688, by one of the Churchwardens, Mr. Nathaniel Cleaveland. 
Originally attached to the organ-loft, but afterwards removed to 
the wall of the belfry, was another table, referring to the internal 
arrangements of the Church itself. As the particulars which it 
contained are curious, I append a full copy of them, transcribed 
by Colonel Harding : 

The Customes of the towne and parish of Tiverton, as they have 
been delivered time out of mind, and confirmed by the parishioners of 
the said parish at a publique meeting for sale of seats the first day of 
November, 1662, as followeth .- 

IMPRIMIS That whoever shall break the ground in the church 
for a burying-place shall pay to the churchwardens five shillings for the 
use of the church. 

ITEM That all seats !in the parish's hand shall be published in the 
church three times three several days before the day of sale, which day 
is to be publicly made knowne in the church. 

ITEM That all seats put to sale shall be openly sold by the Church- 
wardens at the tombe-stone where the best proferer shall be heard. 

ITEM That whosover shall buy a seat as aforesaid, shall enjoy the 
same their life, they liveing in the parish. 

ITEM That the party whose life the seat is held by is the proper 
owner, and not the partie y* shall contract for ye same when held by 
another life. 


ITEM That if any who hath a seat for his or her life shall depart 
out of our said parish, and be an inhabitant elsewhere one year and a 
day, his or her seat is forfeited, and the Churchwardens may put the 
same to sale again, Vnless the partie be unmarryed or rated to the poor 
of our parish for such may keep their seats notwithstanding. 

ITEM That a man deceasing having a wife and have one or more 
seats in the church, she shall en joy what seate she shall choose of her 
husband's during her life, if she be a parishioner, or rated to the 

ITEM That a woman can claim but one seat by her husband, 
though she may have had more than one husband. 

ITEM That any person having a seat in our Church may yield it 
into the parish, and the Churchwardens may sell the same, and the partie 
is to have half e the money. 

The system was not found to work at all well. Dunsford, in 
whose time it was still kept up, observes with reference to the 
middle aisle" the seats in this part of the Church are miser- 
ably bad and irregular and not likely to be much improved till 
the annual custom of selling them on lives is abolished." No 
small part of the Churchwardens' accounts is taken up with this 
trafficking, the section being headed " Seats yielded in." The 
entries are all very similar, so that one specimen will serve : 
" Eecd. of George Drew for a Boom of the Wido Bradforde 
yielded in, No. 6 in the outer Ranks before the Chappell for his 
own life." By order of the Bishop the scandalous yearly auction 
was abolished in 1813, but the other practice of letting the seats 
for life was continued until 1832, when a stop was put to that 
also. It was resolved on the 15th of March of that year at a 
parish vestry, first, " that the present mode of setting, letting, and 
otherwise appropriating church seats is illegal, and that from and 
after Easter, 1833, the same shall be discontinued " : and 
secondly, " that in order to prevent unneccessary confusion, the 
present occupiers of seats shall continue to enjoy the same, free 
of all charges whatsoever, and in case any persons shall be in 
possession of more sittings than is necessary for the accommo- 
dation of themselves and families, the churchwardens shall allot 
them, and other vacant sittings, according to station," &c. An 
amendment was moved to the effect that no alteration should 
take place. The law, however, appeared sufficiently clear on the 
subject, and the motion was negatived without a division. On 
September 4th, 1833, a meeting was called for the purpose of re- 
considering this arrangement. It was stated that by the existing 
allotment of seats " the parish lost nearly 200 ayear ; which sum 
had been invariably applied in aid of the church rate since the 
year 1662 (and time out of mind before that period)" ; and as the 
system involved "a breach of faith with those who purchased 
their life interest and a greater evil to those who attended St. 
George's Chapel and dissenters " the resolution was passed " that 
the principle of free sittings should be abolished and the sittings 


let as usual." Several attempts were made to carry this reso- 
lution into effect, but as the law was opposed to the order of the 
vestry, it was impossible to enforce compliance. For many years, 
therefore, the seats remained free. 

The rise of Nonconformity in Tiverton, or, at any rate, its 
external recognition, may be traced to the year 16S7, the date of 
King James's Declaration of Indulgence. It is evident that ever 
since the Reformation there had been a strong leaven of 
Puritanism in the town, but Puritanism and Nonconformity are 
not by any means synonymous terms. The Puritans, no less than 
the Anglicans, were determined to have their own way with the 
nation and were not very scrupulous as to the means. Every one 
will remember the lines of the royalist Butler on the Puritans, 

errant saints, -whom all men grant 

To be the true Church Militant ; 

Such as do build their faith upon 

The holy text of pike and gun ; 

Decide all controversies by 

Infallible artillery ; 

And prove their doctrine orthodox 

By apostolic blows and knocks, etc. 

Nonconformity, on the other hand, was a defeated force. In- 
stead of attempting to establish itself as the national religion, it 
was glad to accept toleration for its members. In my last chapter 
I referred to the foundation of the Steps' Meeting-house in St. 
Peter-street, in 1687. Here the Independents had their habi- 
tation ; and the society must have prospered, for in 1 699 the 
building was enlarged, so as. to be capable of accommodating 500 
persons. Dunsford says that in his time the congregation was of 
a very miscellaneous character, Trinitarians, Arians, and 
Unitarians, Calvinists and Arminians, Episcopalians, Baptists, 
Presbyterians, Independents, and Methodists, all worshipping 
under a common roof and bound together by no better tie than 
that of dissent. In 1700 there seems to have been a kind of 
schism among the Independents, and a part of the congregation, 
under the direction of a Mr. John Moore, set up a separate 
meeting-house in Back-lane, Westexe, from which, later on, they 
removed to a similar place in St. Peter-street. On the death of 
Mr. Moore in 1736, the Peter-street Meeting-house, as it was 
called, was turned into a pound-house for cider, &c., and it was 
afterwards used as a theatre for strolling players. In 1781 it was 
purchased and re-built by a Mr. John Holmes, by whom it was 
once more devoted to religious purposes, services being conducted 
by members of the Calvinist persuasion. On the 9th of April, 
1817, the building was registered at the Bishop's Court at 
Exeter as a Unitarian Chapel, but two years later it was aban- 
doned as a meeting-house and again converted into a theatre. 
The building was finally destroyed in 1844, and a private house 



was erected where it had stood about the middle of the west 
side of St. Peter-street. 

The Baptist Society at Tiverton is the oldest of the kind in the 
West of England and was originally Dutch. Some of the old 
Dutch people were strong Arminians, for Arminius was living at 
the time and exerting great influence in Holland. The English 
Baptists, on the contrary, were Calvinists, and whenever they 
met, the rival parties went at it tooth and nail. From an old 
manuscript it appears that the Association of Baptist Churches 
always met at Tiverton, because they never held a meeting there 
without a quorum. 

It is believed that the Baptists had a meeting-house on the 
site of their present chapel as long ago as 1687, but a more con- 
venient building was erected in 1730. Previous to King James's 
Declaration of Indulgence there was no regular minister, all the 
duties being carried out by the elders ; and even after that date 
they seem to have assisted by preaching, &c. The name of 
the first pastor was Roger Haldanby, appointed in 1687. He 
officiated in the old house to which we referred for about 
two years, when he went to Plymouth and public service was 
again conducted by the eldest members, chiefly by Tristram 
Trewren, a poor tradesman of Tiverton, but a man of reputable 
character. Other changes took place in the ministry, and in the 
year 1714 James Sampson was chosen and ordained pastor of the 
congregation. He officiated for fourteen years. It is said of him 
" he appears to have been a sensible man and a good preacher," 
but having adopted religious opinions different from the leading 
principles of his flock, they separated, and Mr. Sampson preached 
in the Meeting-house, Back-lane, Westexe. He was followed by 
many of the congregation, who attended his ministry until he left 
Tiverton in 1737. The same year he died on his "voyage" to 
London. Those who continued to worship in the " old house " 
were served for some time by occasional ministers notably by one 
William Foot, who came in 1728 from Plymouth and officiated in 
this place of worship for two years. During that time, it seems, 
he was much employed in raising subscriptions to build the new 
house. Whilst this work was in progress, tne people worshipped 
in the dwelling-house of Mr. Thomas Dunsford, serge-maker, in 
Bampton-street, which was licensed for the purpose. In 1731 
Henry Terry came from Mortonhampstead in exchange for Mr. 
Foot, but was not ordained pastor of the congregation until the 
year 1733. This gentleman officiated in the meeting-house about 
twenty-eight years, and died in 1759. His body was interred in 
St. Peter's Churchyard. After Mr. Terry's death somewhat 
frequent changes occurred in the ministry and the Society must 
have suffered reverses for years, for at a later period 1849 
we find that the Eev. E. "Webb, who was in that year appointed 
pastor, preached his first sermon to a congregation of only sixty 


persons. The society which invited him did not number more 
than eighty, and the male membership consisted of just twenty 
one individuals. In 1854 the chapel was enlarged at a cost of 560 
and a few years later 1,660 was expended in the erection of 
school buildings, &c. At the close of the first sixteen years of his 
pastorate Mr. Webb reported that 257 members had been added 
to his community. The same prosperity marked the remaining 
years of this gentleman's ministry. He was succeeded in the 
pastorate by the Eev. J. P. Carey, and the chapel being incon- 
veniently small it was decided to erect a more commodious and 
modern structure. 

Besides the Steps, the Peter-street, and the Baptist Meeting- 
houses there was a fourth " conventicle " known as the Pitt 
Meeting-house. The establishment of this place of worship is 
attributed to the Eev. Eichard Saunders, M.A., one of the old 
Puritans, who was ejected from his living at Loxbeare on 
Bartholomew's Day, 1662. In 1671 he commenced to hold meet- 
ings at Tiverton ; and in 1682, having been stopped in his dis- 
course at the house of a Mr. Wood, he was brought before the 
Mayor and convicted as a conventicler. A fine was inflicted 
on him and on the house he had been preaching in, and he was 
sent to Exeter Gaol for six months. In 1672 he had opened a 
meeting-house in Back-lane, Westexe, where he continued to 
preach till the Pitt Meeting-house was erected in 1687. It was 
situated below Angel Hill, on the east bank of the Exe, and the 
congregation originally consisted of Presbyterians. According to 
Dunsford, however, after a lapse of fifty years or so the old 
Calvinistic doctrines were exploded, and the congregation betrayed 
a tendency to Unitarianism. In 1787 they united with the 
Independents, and in 1815 the Pitt Meeting-house was sold for 
300 to pay for repairs to the Independent Chapel. The 
Methodists made their appearance at a later period, and will 
receive due notice at the proper time. 

In 1698 an Act was passed for erecting hospitals and work- 
houses in the parish of Tiverton for the better employing and 
maintaining the poor thereof. Previous to this the poor had 
been the exclusive charge of the Churchwardens and it seems 
that in certain cases individuals had been licensed to beg, such 
privileged persons being distinguished by a badge on the right 
shoulder. There was, of course, no "casual ward" in those days 
and anyone passing through the town who happened to be short 
of money seems to have applied of right to the Churchwardens 
for assistance. The number of Irish who thus claimed relief is 
quite extraordinary and in the Churchwardens' account for 1659 
we find such entries as these, following in quick succession : 

" Paid a poore Irish woman, having two small childr 
with her." vid 

" Paid a poore passenger travelling to Tanton." iid 


" Paid a poore Irish Gent, travelling to London hav- 
inge a sicke Childe with him." vid. 

" Paid to evade a Collection Mr. Maio* being from home 
to one Thomas Tidgerombe, of Buckland, near Plymouth yt 
had bin lately taken by Spanish man of warre and Im- 
prison'd with his wife and little Child five months at 
Calice having lost thereby as was certified on's Certif. 
500Z and more." His. 

The last instance suggests that the Churchwardens may have 
been deceived sometimes by " travellers' tales " ; since they 
seem to have thought Thomas Tidgerombe's story and certificate 
sufficient reasons for disbursing to him far more than the usual 
amount. However, under the Act of 1698 the management of 
the " hospital " and the disposal of the funds for the relief of the 
poor were delegated to a new board created for the purpose. It 
was composed of fifty-two members including the Mayor, the 
Recorder, the Capital and Assistant Burgesses, and the Portreeve, 
who had a right to be present ex officio ; and with them sat twenty 
five of " the ablest and discreetest inhabitants " elected by the 
ratepayers. A Governor, Deputy-Governor, Treasurer, and 
twelve Special Assistants, six of each class of guardians, were 
chosen annually until the year 1769, when these arrangements 
were superseded. The ' hospital " erected on the site of the 
present workhouse, was begun in 1699 and was not finally com- 
pleted till 1704. In 1700, however, the building was in a 
sufficiently forward state to accommodate sixty persons, who were 
accordingly admitted. In 1699 also was built a Corn Market 
House in Bampton-street. This was burnt down in the great 
fire of 1731 and soon after the present structure was erected. 

In 1700 occurs the first mention of a friendly society in Tiver- 
ton. It was founded by wool-combers for their mutual support 
in sickness or old age, and appears to have lasted till the close of 
the century. On the whole it was an excellent institution and 
clearly not deficient in funds. This is proved by the fact, that 
on several occasions, when trade was bad or the workmen were 
involved in disputes, the whole society was maintained out of the 
deposits. To such members as were about to travel, whether in 
search of employment or for some other reason, it was customary 
to issue certificates, or as they called them, " blanks." The 
" blank : ' shewed that the individual in question was a member of 
the society, and he had only to produce it to become entitled to 
assistance from any similar society, in alliance with that of 
Tiverton, throughout the kingdom. But there is a dark side to 
this picture. The members of this society seem to have enter- 
tained a lively dread of " malingering," so they made it penal to 
be ill or old too long. Any one who exceeded a certain term of 
illness or old age, was docked of some part of his weekly allow- 
ance. In 1704, the farm labourers of the parish started a kindred 


Society, but, as we hear of farmers in connexion with it, there 
seems to have been an element of patronage in the labourers' 
club. The following were some of the rules of the artisans' 
society : 

IMPRIMIS It is agreed that such of us as shall be admitted into, 
or become members of this Society, shall and will, at their first admit- 
tance, pay the full sum of One Shilling. And from and after that time , 
on Wednesdays Monthly, and every Month pay the sum of Six Pence, to 
be laid up in the Hands of such Trustees and Supervisors, as shall by us, 
or the major part of us, be appointed, for the time being, to make a 
Book, Common-Stock or Purse, for the Relief and Benefit of such of ua 
as shall have been Contributers, or Payers to the same, for the space of 
One whole Year. 


ITEM It is also agreed, That none shall be admitted into, or become 
Members of, this our said Society, that are above Fifty Years of Age, 
and those of a Loyal and Honest Reputation. 


ITEM It is also agreed, That the Time of our Meeting shall be 
between the Hours of 6 and 8 of the Clock in the Afternoon, on 
Wednesdays Monthly in the Summer, and between 4 and 7 of the Clock 
in Winter ; and then to pay the sum of Six Pence each, and to spend 
Two-pence in the Meeting Room, and no more. 


ITEM It is also agreed, That if any of our said Society, at the time 
of our said Monthly Meetings, shall Curse, Swear, Blaspheme God, speak 
Reflecting on the Government, or Cause any Disturbance, shall, for 
every such Offence, forfeit and pay into the said Stock or Purse, the 
sum of One Shilling ; and that such of us so offending who shall refuse 
to pay the same immediately, or at our next Monthly Meeting, shall be 
excluded from being a Member of our said Society. 


ITEM It is also order'd and agreed upon, that from and after the 
payment of the aforesaid sum of One Shilling for Admittance, and 
monthly sum of Six-pence for the space of One whole Year, that such 
of our said Society as shall be visited with Sickness, so as to keep his 
Bed, shall have and receive from the Trustees and Supervisors appointed 
for the time being, after One Week such Sickness, the sum of Sias 
Shillings weekly, and every Week, during so long as he or they shall 
keep their Bed, and no longer ; and Ihree Shillings weekly, to be paid 
out of our said Stock or Purse 'till he or they shall be able to follow their 
Labour. And that such of Us as shall be hurted or receive any Mis- 
fortune, provided it is in his Lawful Employment, and so that he cannot 
follow the same, shall also have and receive of the said Trustees or 
Supervisors, as aforesaid, the Sum of Three Shillings, Weekly, and Every 
Week, 'till he shall be able to follow his Imployment. But such of us 
as shall receive any Misfortune or Hurt by any Recreation as Foot-ball. 
Butts-and- Cudgels, Hunting, or other such like Exercise, no Subeistance 
shall be allowed. 



ITEM It's also agreed, That if any of our said Society shall travel 
out of our said Parish, and sojourn elsewhere, provided he doth duely 
pay the said monthly sum of Six-pence, shall be continued, owned, and 
esteemed to be a Member of the same and have and receive the Allow- 
ance and Subsistance as aforesaid. But he and they that shall neglect 
the Paying the same for the space of 3 Months, together with the sum of 
Two-pence per Month (order'd to be spent at our monthly meeting) shall 
be excluded our Society. 


ITEM It is also agreed, That such of our said Society as have been 
Members of the same, as aforesaid, for the space of One Year, shall, 
when God call them hence by Death, have allowed towards their 
Funeral Expenses the sum of Twenty Shillings, and Ten Shillings for a 
Funeral Sermon, out of the said Stock, and his widow Six Shillings. 


ITEM It's also agreed, That such of this our said Society as shall 
have been Payers thereto, for the full space of Seven Years, when, 
through weakness or Old-Age, they shall become uncapable to get his, 
or their, Maintenance, shall have and receive, out of our said Stock, the 
sum of Two Shillings, Weekly and Every Week, for and during his 
Natural Life ; if the Trustees and Supervisors for the Time being, or the 
Major Part of them shall think fit. 

About this time the weather seems to have caused a good deal 
of trouble at Tiverton. On September 8, 1692, the shock of an 
earthquake was felt in "Westexe, but it must have been a very 
mild kind of earthquake, as we hear of absolutely no damage being 
done. On December 8, in the same year, the Eiver Exe trans- 
gressed by pervading the lower parts of the town and standing 
two feet high in the houses. All the historians of Tiverton, 
Blundell, Hewett, Dunsford, and Harding, seem greatly impressed 
by the case of Grace Vanstone, a child of four, who, at the time 
of this flood, was carried bodily through a subterranean gutter 
thirty six feet long and then, after twenty feet more gutter in 
the open air, into the Eiver Exe, where she caught hold of a wear- 
stake, and, having jbeen lucky enough to attract the notice of 
certain people, was saved. Three years later the Eiver 
Lowman transgressed by overflowing its banks, and the Blun- 
dellians of that generation rowed about the Green in tubs. After 
the earthquake and the two floods came a stormy wind and 
tempest. This was in 1703, and by all accounts it was a 
bond fide and most sensational affair, though we do not hear of 
old ladies being wafted through alleys or shop-windows, or indeed 
of anything distinctly miraculous and providential. Blundell 
writes very " sympathetically " about this storm. 


" (1703). FEIDAY, NOVEMBEK 27, will deserve no small place 
in our Eemembrance, if we seriously consider the Providenc e of 


God, in so wonderfully preserving us from such imminent 
Dangers that then threatened us by a dreadful Tempest. It 
began about 10 o'Clock at Night, and violently increasing, was in 
the height of its Fury at 3 next Morning, when its raging Blasts 
were most frightful and amazing, and sufficient to convince any 
Mortal, even an Atheist, that had not these Winds been ruled by 
an Almighty Power, they would undoubtedly, not only have 
shook the Foundations of the Earth, but have destroyed the 
whole Fabrick, and bur/d the Inhabitants thereof in its dismal 
Euins. The Morning Light soon made visible the horrid Marks 
of its Fury ; for Trees of vast Bulk were blown up by the Roots ; 
Churches and Houses uncovered and many thrown down ; and 
daily News arrived of wretched Shipwrecks, insomuch that a 
great number of dead Bodies were cast upon our Coasts from 
Hull to the Lands' End. And the Town of Tiverton had no small 
Share in this Calamity, most of the Houses thereof being un- 
covered, many Trees blown down, and a great deal of other 
Damage done. 

It's observable, that a West India Bird call'd a Petrel was 
taken up next Day warm from the Ground in an Orchard, belong- 
ing to the Widow Berry in Bariton-street. They are generally 
called by our Seamen Foul Weather Birds, their appearance pre- 
saging a Storm. When a Ship is under sail, they will hover close 
under her Stern, in the Wake or Smoothing, which she makes in 
her passage on the Sea ; where, as they fly gently, they pat the 
Water alternately with their Feet as if they walk'd upon the 
same ; whence in Illusion (sic) to St. Peter's walking on the Lake 
of Gennazareth, they are call'd Petrels. They are something like 
our Swallows, but smaller, having a short Tail, and black all over, 
except a white spot on the Rump ; their manner of Flying is also 
the same." 

On the first of May, 1706, some uproarious woolcombers were 
tried in the Town Hall before the High Sheriff of the County, 
the Mayor, the Recorder, and an Esquire. It is not known what 
made them uproarious, or what means were taken to calm their 
excitement, but it is on record that it cost the Guardians 
=10 5s. 3d. in fees to the Town Clerk, who would have liked 
23 4s. 9d., but the people at the " Hospital " thought this 
exactly 12 19s. 6d. too much, and his account was taxed 
accordingly. The same year the Treasurer of the " Hospital " 
saw fit to encourage drunkenness in the town by distributing 
three barrels or hogsheads of beer on the " rejoicing-day " for the 
victory obtained by the Duke of Marlborough at the battle of 

In 1707 Alstone's Almshouses in Birchin Lane, Westexe, were 
built. By his will dated March 2, 1696, John Alstone, who was 
a clothier, of Tiverton, had left certain property for the benefit, 
as he expressed it, of " six poor shear men " (i.e. "fullers "}, but 


the arrangement was not to be carried into effect until after the 
death of one William Chambers and his wife Elinor. These 
almshouses were in a very ruinous state in 1788, when, and for 
years afterwards, the ground was let to private individuals. The 
rent, however, was devoted to the relief of six fullers, as devised 
by the testator. There are still almshouses in Birchin Lane, 
but they are occupated by superannuated employees of Heathcoat 
and Go's lace factory. 

We now come to the subject of Parliamentary election, which, as 
we have seen, was vested in the Corporation. If we may rely, 
however, on certain old manuscripts which are not official, the 
potwalladers, or wallopers, of the town sometimes elected the 
members. In Hewett's Memoirs, under the year 1604, we find 
the following statements : 

" Two burgesses did serve in Parliament for the borough of 
Twyfordton ; they were chosen by the votes of the potwalliners 
(sic), before Tiverton was incorporated." 

" Note. The inhabitants of Westex, they have no votes in 
such election." 

The same thing is represented as having occurred in 1687, but 
no record exists of such an election, and Colonel Harding is dis- 
posed to reject the story as fictitious. How matters were 
arranged on previous occasions, we have no evidence to show, but in 
all probability the members of the Corporation were tolerably 
harmonious. In 1710, on the contrary, party feeling ran high and 
the result was a contest. The sitting members, Thomas Bere, of 
Huntsham, and Eichard Mervin, Esquires, were attached to the 
Whig interest, while the candidates put forward by the Church 
party were Sir Edward Northleigh, Attorney General, and John 
Worth, Esquire, of Worth. The latter were successful. Blundell, 
evidently a staunch Tory, reports the occurrence in a way 
suggesting that his sense of propriety had been fully satisfied : " The 
Whiggist and Presbyterian interest was clearly overthrown, in 
the due election of those worthy and honourable gentlemen 
aforesaid, Sir Edward Northleigh, Knight, and John Worth, 
Esquire, of Worth." 

In 1713 a Charity School was established for sixty boys, and 
the following year a similar arrangement was made for fifty girls. 
The institution was at first supported by subscription, and an 
annual collection at church. The scholars were taught in the 
church-house, and in return for the instruction they received were 
required to be diligent church-goers, both Sundays and week- 
days. Voluntary contributions continued to be asked for the 
school until 1802, by which time, apparently, owing to various 
benefactions, it had become self-supporting. Thus, in 1716, a 
Mr. Henry Blagdori left a sum of money which he intended to be 
used in providing instruction for the children at the Hospital, 
but which was ultimately appropriated to this charity. Donations 


were made to the school by Mr. Peter Newte in 1719, Mr. John 
Tristram in 1724, Mrs. Mary Peard in 1777, and Mr. Benjamin 
Gilberd in 1783 ; and out of the funds of the establishment the 
trustees in 1842 decided to erect new premises now used for the 
Middle Schools in Castle -street. Till then, during the whole of 
the 130 years since the school was first instituted, it had never 
migrated from its origihal nidus, the Church-house. The school 
was finally broken up in 1877. It was generally known as the 
Blue Coat School, as the children were given a suit of clothing of 
that colour and of very coarse material, once a year ; and shoes and 
stockings, the latter also blue, twice a year. The cut was that of 
the early part of the eighteenth century a long coat with brass 
buttons, tight knee-breeches, and a flat cloth cap, for the boys, 
who, I am afraid, were often the objects of derision to other 
working-class boys dressed a la mode. The girls' attire was more 

This work could scarcely be deemed complete without some 
notice of that very romantic character -Bampfylde-Moore Carew. 
The short account here given is drawn from a quaint eighteenth- 
century book entitled : " An APOLOGY for the LIFE of Mr. 
Bampfylde-Moore Carew, commonly call'd The KING of the 
BEGGAES. BEING A.n impartial Account of his LIFE, from his 
leaving TIVERTON School, at the Age of Fifteen, and entering into 
a Society of Gipsies, to the present Time ; wherein the Motives 
of his Conduct will be explain'd, and the great number of 
Characters and Shapes he has appeared in thro' GREAT 
BRITAIN, IRELAND, and several other Places of EUROPE be related ; 
with his TRAVELS twice through great Part of AMERICA. A par- 
ticular account of the Origin, Government, Language, Laws and 
Customs of the Gipsies ; their Method of electing their King, 
&c., and a Parallel drawn after the Manner of PLUTARCH between 
SEVENTH EDITION." Totus Mundus agit Histrionem. Bampfylde- 
Moore Carew was the son of the Eev. Theodore Carew, Rector of 
Bickleigh, near Tiverton, and born in the month of July, 1693. 
His baptism is said to have been an event. Ladies and gentlemen 
of the first rank and quality in the West of England were present, 
and his sponsors were the Hon. Hugh Bampfylde and the Hon. 
Major Moore, both of whose names he bore. A dispute arose 
between these worthy gentlemen as to which name should precede, 
and argument being ineffectual, recourse was had to the con- 
venient method of " throwing up a Piece of Money." The toss 
was won by Mr. Bampfylde, who, in commemoration of the triumph, 
presented his god-child with a large piece of plate bearing in large 
letters the inscription BAMPFYLDE-MOORE CAREW. At twelve 
years of age Carew was sent to Blundell's School, where he is 
stated to have formed the acquaintance of " young Gentlemen of 
the first Rank in Somersetshire, Devonshire, Cornwall, and 


Dorsetshire." A boy so reared and possessing so many incentives 
to adhere to the beaten paths of convention was the very 
last whom WQ should suspect o a taste for low company or 
amusements, but chacun a son gout. This, at least, may be said 
for him, that, having chosen his line, he pursued it without 
faltering, and to those who believe in the virtue of a good 
" having" Carew is one of the best proofs of its efficacy. He 
out-gipsied the gipsies and rose without an effort, by a sort of 
natural law, to be their King. Whilst he was at Tiverton, Carew 
made good progress with his studies, and in after days, when, 
among his numerous disguises, he assumed the character of a 
clergyman, he retained a sufficient stock of learning to be able 
to quote tags of Greek and Latin, by means of which his preten- 
sions passed unquestioned. It was in sport, however, that he 
chiefly excelled. He had a " remarkable chearing Halloo to the 
Dogs," which is said to have been of great service in the 
chase, and to have been peculiar to himself. And, we are 
farther told, he discovered the secret " hitherto unknown to any 
but himself " of enticing any dog whatever to follow him. At this 
time the boys at Tiverton School had a fine pack of hounds, and 
among the subscribers were John Martin, Thomas Coleman, and 
John Escott, all young men of good family, with whom Bampfylde- 
Moore Carew was naturally on terms of the closest intimacy. 
Coleman, whose erratic temperament afterwards led him into 
much the same adventurous courses as Carew, was the son of the 
Squire of Gornhay. It happened one day that a farmer in the 
neighbourhood, who was a great sportsman and a sort of " whipper- 
in" to the enterprising Blundellians, waited upon them with the 
information that there was a fine deer on his farm, with a 
collar round his neck. This was " nuts " to the Blundell scholars 
who forthwith set out in a body, with Martin, Coleman, Escott, 
and Carew at their head, to hunt the animal. The time of this 
event was shortly before harvest, when there was much standing 
corn in the fields, and as the chase was hot and lasted several 
hours, considerable damage was done to the crops. The " field * 
however, succeeded in killing the deer, which, from the inscription 
on its collar was found to belong to Colonel Nutcombe, of Clay- 
hanger. Meanwhile the farmers and landowners, for whose 
interests the youthful Nimrods had shown such a princely disregard, 
wended their way to the Rev. Mr. Eayner, the head-master, and 
demanded vengeance. An inquiry was instituted and the culprits, 
foreseeing the result, deemed it expedient to be " aeger." On the 
following day they chanced to visit Brick House, an inn situated 
about half a mile from Tiverton, where they fell in with a 
company of gipsies, feasting and carousing. The gipsies were 
seventeen or eighteen in number and of both sexes. They had 
met there for the purpose " of Merriment and Jollity ; and after 
a plentiful meal upon fowls, ducks, and other dainty dishes, the 


flowing cups of October cyder, &c., went most chearfully round, 
and merry songs and country dances crowned the Jovial Banquet." 
The boys were so captivated by the scene that they at once 
resolved to enlist, to join the gipsies for good and all. The latter 
at first received the announcement with incredulity. Prom their 
appearance and bearing, the youths evidently belonged to the 
higher classes, and it was difficult to believe that they could be in 
earnest. As, however, after a night's reflexion their purpose 
remained unchanged, it was determined to admit them as members 
of the fraternity. The necessary ceremonies were gone through, 
the proper oaths administered, and Bampfylde- Moore Carew was a 
duly accredited gipsy. Among other accomplishments supposed 
to pertain to this singular people is a knowledge of divination, 
and Carew in his new character was speedily in request as a 
necromancer. A Mrs. Musgrove, of Munkton, near Taunton, 
having heard of his fame, sent for him on a matter of considerable 
moment. She strongly suspected that somewhere near her house 
was buried a large quantity of money and she wanted Carew to 
tell her exactly in what spot it lay, promising if he did so, to 
bestow upon him a handsome reward. The offer was tempting, 
and Carew rose to the occasion. Although he could not find the 
real or imaginary treasure, he managed to pocket the fee. The 
ruse which he employed was as follows. He affected to consult 
the mystic art and after a becoming delay informed the lady, that 
the gold she coveted was concealed under a laurel tree, but that 
ehe must not seek for it until a particular day and hour, when her 
good planet would be in the ascendant. The worthy soul took it 
all in, and Carew on his departure was a richer man by twenty 
guineas. At the time appointed the lady dug below the roots of 
the laurel tree, but alas ! there was no treasure there. 

One of the most interesting episodes in the life of this extra- 
ordinary man was his marriage, which was in the highest degree 
romantic. It was a love-match, the lady whose name was Gray, 
being the daughter of a Newcastle apothecary. Carew, who was 
a tall handsome fellow and of excellent address, was just the sort 
of man who would be likely to make his way with ladies, and he 
was shrewd enough to suppress what might have proved an 
insuperable obstacle to his success his connexion with the 
gipsies. He passed himself off as an officer on board a merchant 
vessel, and as the lady whatever her friends might think was 
well satisfied with his position and prospects, and more than 
satisfied with his person and accomplishments, she agreed to elope 
with him They sailed for Dartmouth, proceeding thence to 
Bath, where the wedding was celebrated with every circumstance 
of splendour. It is an amiable feature in Carew's character that 
throughout his wild life he was always constant to this trustful, 
loving, imprudent girl. During the voyage to Dartmouth he had 
confessed his secret, by which, it appears, Miss Gray was a good 


deal upset, but she was reconciled to her fate on being told the 
actual condition of her lover, his descent from one of the most 
distinguished families in the West of England. Carew, however, 
did not immediately resume his gipsy life. He and his bride 
spent some time at Bath, busied with the ordinary round of 
fashionable dissipations, and the objects of no small curiosity to 
the gossips and quidnuncs who frequented the mineral springs. 
By and bye these amusements began to. pall on them. They left 
for Bristol and after some stay there travelled through Somerset 
and Dorset into Hampshire, where Carew had an uncle, a benevo- 
lent and sensible man in holy orders. This excellent divine used 
every argument he could think of to induce his nephew to forsake 
his disreputable career, but a relapse was inevitable. Arrayed in 
a long loose black gown, a band, a large white peruke and a 
broad-brimmed hat, he made an incursion among the clergy, to 
whom he represented himself as an ejected non-juror, and then 
with equal success he passed over into the opposite ranks of 
the Quakers. His histrionic talents won immense admiration 
from his own community, the Gipsies, as indeed from everybody 
else with whom he came in contact, even those who had suffered 
by his rogueries readily forgiving him in return for the excellent 
entertainment he afforded them. When, therefore, the King of the 
Gipsies was on his death-bed delivering, in patriarchal fashion, a 
valedictory address to his obedient followers, the expectation of 
the brotherhood pointed to Carew as his successor. It appears, 
however, that among this interesting people so important an 
event as the choice of a new ruler was not allowed to pass 
without fit ceremonies and safeguards. A few days before the 
election, balls, one white, the rest black, corresponding to the 
number of candidates, were given to each elector ; and on the 
day of election there were set out as many boxes as there were 
candidates, with the name of the particular candidate on the box 
appropriated to him. These boxes were quite closed, except for 
a small aperture at the top, which was locked every night, so 
long as the election lasted, under the seals of each of the candi- 
dates and of six of the oldest men of the community. The 
elector put a white ball into the box of the candidate of his choice 
and black balls into those of the other candidates, and when all 
had voted, the boxes were opened, in the presence of all the 
competitors and as many electors as cared to attend, by the 
venerable gipsies before mentioned. Whoever had the largest 
number of white balls was chosen. On the present occasion that 
fortunate person was Carew. He exhibited to the electors such 
a long list of bold and ingenious stratagems successfully carried 
into effect, and was besides so handsome and prepossessing a man, 
that his claim was irresistible. He was hailed by the whole 
assembly king of the mendicants, the public register was confided 
to him, and homage was paid him as their sovereign lord by the 


entire body. These solemn acts were followed by feasting and 
revelry, and, in conclusion, an inaugural ode was sung by the 
electors, viz. : 


Cast your nabs* and Cares away, 
This is Maunder 'st Holiday : 
In the World look out and see, 
Where's so happy a King as he ? 


At the Crowning of our King, 
Thus we ever dance and sing ; 
Where's the Nation lives so free, 
And so merrily as we ? 


Be it Peace or be it War, 
Here at Liberty we are : 
Hang all Harmenbecks\ we cry, 
We the Cuffin Queres\\ defy. 


We enjoy our Ease and Best, 
To the Field we are not prest : 
And when the Taxes are increas'd, 
We are not a Penny cess'd. 


Nor will any go to Law 
With a Maunder for a straw ; 
All which Happiness he brags, 
Is only owing to his Bags. 

Enough perhaps has been said about Bampfylde Moore Carew, 
but before closing the recital, it will perhaps gratify my readers, 
if I relate two characteristic incidents in the life of the well- 
known vagabond. It happened one day, when he was in South- 
molton, that he was insulted by a little big official commonly 
known as the Bellman. Carew determined to be revenged. 
Not long before a gentleman of the town had died, and it was 
currently reported that his ghost walked the churchyard. Now 
it was one of the duties of the bellman to cross the churchyard at 
the hour of 1 a.m. Carew, availing himself of this superstition, 

* Hats or caps. 

t A beggar. 

J Constables. 

|| Justices of the peace or churls. 


entered the burial ground, divested himself of his coat and waist- 
coat, so as to display his white shirt, and lay down on the gentle- 
man's grave. In due course the bellman arrived, when what was 
his horror by the glimmering light of the moon to see a figure 
slowly rise from the tomb in question, and advance towards him ! 
In his consternation he made as rapidly as possible for the gate, 
but, blind with terror, stumbled over graves and tomb-stones, was 
badly bruised and knocked about, and finally dropped his bell, 
which Carew afterwards seized as a trophy of victory. About a 
year later Carew was again in Southmolton and the bellman who 
had by this time recovered from his fright, repeated his old 
offence. The Gipsy King, resolving to punish him yet more 
severely, arrayed himself in a black robe and a large fur cap, and 
posting himself in the churchyard on an exceptionally dark night, 
awaited the bellman's arrival with a brand lighted at both 
ends in his mouth and a heavy rattling chain. If the officer 
had been terrified on the former occasion, he was doubly so now. 
He verily believed that the grim object which he perceived 
vomiting flame was none other than his Satanic Majesty, and the 
miserable man rushed panic-stricken from the spot, nor, after that, 
could anything induce him to resume his nightly rounds. The 
other anecdote I insert not so much for its intrinsic interest as 
for the reference which it contains to Tiverton. I quote from 
the " Apology ": 

" Some Time after this, he called upon the Miss Hawkers, of 
Thorn, near Yeovil, who treated him very hospitably, and enquired 
what News he heard, it being in the time of the late Eebellion. 
Whilst he was talking with them, he observed a new House 
almost opposite, and enquiring who liv'd there, they told him one 
Parson Marks, a Dissenting Teacher ; upon which, taking leave of 
the Ladies, he steps over the way, and knocks boldly at the Door, 
which was soon opened by Parson Maries himself ; Sir, says Mr. 
Carew, pulling off his Hat, and accosting him with a demur 
Countenance, I came two Miles out of my Eoad on purpose to 
wait upon you ; I believe, Sir, you are acquainted with my 
brother, Mr. John Pike, of Tiverton, Teacher of a Dissenting 
Congregation in that Place ; and you have undoubtedly heard 
something of his brother Roger Pike, which unfortunate Man I 
am, having been taken Prisoner coming from Boston in Neiv 
England by the French Privateers, and carried into Boulogne, 
where we were cruelly treated. Alack, alack, says the Parson, 
pray walk in, good Mr. Roger ; I am indeed very well acquainted 
with that very worthy Servant of God your Brother, Mr. John 
Pike, and a gracious Man he is ; I have likewise heard him men- 
tion his brother Roger. He then ordered some Victuals and 
Drink to be brought out for good Mr. Roger Pike ; while he was 
eating he enquired, How he got from Boulogne ? He reply 5 d that 
Twenty-five of them had broke Prison, and seiz'd upon a Vessel 



in the Harbour, by which they had got safe to the English Coast. 
Well, Mr. Roger, says the Parson, what News did you hear in 
France? It is reported there, replies he, that the Eebels are 
very powerful in Scotland, and that great Numbers are gone to 
them safe from France. Stop a little, criys the Parson, Mr. 
Roger, and running upstairs, soon after came down with a Letter 
in his Hand, which he read to Mr. Pike, wherein it was said, the 
Eebels were wonderfully powerful. Then shaking his head very 
sorrowfully, cried, indeed, Mr, Pike, I can't be at Ease, for they 
say they will make us Examples on Account of the 80th of 
January. Never fear then. Sir, said Mr. Careiv, we shall be a 
Match for them in Devonshire and Cornwall. I am afraid not, 
cries the Parson, shaking his Head again, I have had no Eest for 
thinking of them several Nights past. After some further Dis- 
course, he fetch'd Mr. Pike a good Holland Shirt, and clap'd half 
a Guinea into his Hand, entreating him to take a Bed with him 
that Night, for that he should be heartily welcomed ; but he 
desired to be excused, and took his Leave with many Thanks, 
returning to the Miss Hawkers again. Well, Mr. Carew, cried the 
Ladies, you have had a long Conference with the Parson. Ay, ay, 
replies he, and to good purpose, too ; for this Shirt and half a 
Guinea are the Fruits of it ; and then told them in what manner 
he had deceiv'd the Parson, which made them laugh very heartily; 
they then gave him a Crown, and promis'd to keep Mr. Pike's 
Secrets for a Day or two. A few Days after the Parson was 
going over to see the Ladies, they ask'd him if a poor Seaman had 
been at his House ? ' Yes,' replied the Parson, ' it was one Roger 
Pike, whose Brother has a Congregation at Tiverton, and whom 
I am very well acquainted with.' ' And did you give him any- 
thing ? ' ' Yes, I gave him a Shirt and half a Guinea.' ' And 
we gave him a Crown,' said the ladies, ' not as being Roger Pike, 
but as Mr. Bampfylde- Moore Careiv." 1 At which the Parson was 
in a very great Hurry, and would scarce be convinced but that it 
was old Roger Pike." 

Our hero, after his many travels, in the course of which he 
twice visited America, died at his native village and was buried 
28th June, 1 758, at the south-east end of Bickleigh Church. 


The tablets recording the borough charities were ranged 
within the memory of persons still living, in the vacant spaces 
between the windows of the clerestory. The benefactions 
were inscribed in gilt letters, and over them, in a sort of apse 
were the head and wings of a dove. Additional tablets appear 
to have been set up during the churchwardenship of Martin 


Dunsford, who was elected to that office in 1780 and again in 
1783. The tablets are now in the belfry. The following is a 
copy of the inscriptions, for which I am indebted to Mr. Samuel 

1370. Hugh de Courteney, &, Earl of Devon, gave the profits of the 
markett of this Towne for the benefit of the poor. 

1568. Walter Terrill, of this Towne, Draper, gave 10 pounds 13s. yearly 
to 6 poor men, unto each of them 8d. the weeke ; allsoe he gave the 
overplus above 40 pounds of the issues and profits of Exe bridge to be 
distributed among all to (?) of this Town and parish. 

1 582. Roger Richards, of this towne, gave 12 pounds for ever to be lent 
unto poor Artificers. 

1582. Thomas Deyman, of this Towne, Gent, 12 pounds for ever to be 
lent yearly unto poor Artificers. 

1583. Humphry Bonville, of this Towne, gave 20 pounds to be lent 
yearly for ever unto 4 Honest householders of this town and parrish. 

1584. Hugh Attwell, Parson, of Calwoodly, gave 17 pounds for ever 
unto poor inhabitants of this town. 

1592. Humphrey Cogan, of this Town, mercer, gave 10 pounds for ever 
to be lent unto poor craftsmen on security to pay at 2 years end. 

1598. Edward Prouse, of Pilywell, within this parrish, gave 20 pounds 
for the benefit of the poor. 

1618. Gabriel Barber, a hotterer, gave to the poor inhabitants of this 
towne 40 pounds, 10 pounds whereof forthwith to be distributed, and 
30 pounds remaining to be lent to said poor for ever. 

1619. Elisabeth Berry, of this towne, widow, gave 20 pounds for ever to 
be lent at the end of every 2 years unto 10 weavers of this Towne, each 40 

1621 . Robert Reed, of this Towne. Clothier, gave 100 pounds for ever to 
be lent on security to 20 Weavers and Tuckers of this Town, to each 
5 pounds for 2 years. Alsoe he gave 100 pounds, the profits thereof to be 
bestowed in bred for 12 Old poor people, each of them a 3d. loafe 

1623. John Berry, of this Towne, Clothier, gave for the benefit of this 
Towue and parrish 40 pounds to be lint on Security to poor weavers and 
Tuckers. And alsoe 60 pounds to the then mayor & burgesses to 
purchase lands, the profits thereof to be imployed towards the setting 
and continuance of a lecture in divinity if the same could be obtained, 
else to be employed to charatable uses at discretion of the mayor and 
burgesses, or in case of their disolution by the Church. 

1623. John Berry, of Kentisbeer, gave unto this Towne and parrish one 
tenement at Chevithorne, the profits thereof to 4 poor men, whereof 
two to be husbandmen, one a fuller, and the other a weaver. 

1624. The Lady Craven, of London, widow, gave 50 pounds to the uses 
of the poor of this parrish. 

1629. George Lutterall, of dunster, Esq., gave 20 pounds for ever for 
the use of the poor of this parish. 

1673. Thomas Leigh, Junr., of this Towne, Gen*, gave profits of the 8th 
parte of this market yearly, to be given the 2Gth of December by the 
mayor and burgesses unto poor people borne and reciding in this 


John West, of Thorverton, Esq., gave to the benefit of this Towne 
and parrish the 4th part of this market after the death of himself e and 
Edith, his wife, viz., 5s. a weeke in bred to 15 poor people, 4 pounds per 
Anm in gownes, 4 pounds per Anm to husbandmen.the overplus to be lent 
unto weavers and fullers. 

1679. Robert Chattey, of this Towne, mercer, gave 10 pounds yearly 

issuable out of tenement in this parrish to be distributed to 20 

poor men of this Towne and parrish that have been laborious and 

1680. John Lane, of this Towne, merchant, gaveamedow in buckland 
and 250 pounds to his Trustees to purchase an annuity on an estate in 
fee, upon trust that out of the issues and profits thereof, to pay three 

shillings the month to 8 poor , whereof 6 to be of this place and 

2 of Cullompton, 20s. per Annm towards repairing the long Causeway 
leading to Butterleigh, and 20s. per Ann m in bookes for poor Scholars at 
the English Schools. 

1687. George Ching, Jr., of this Towne, Mercer, gave 10 pounds 
yearly to be distributed unto 8 poor people of this Towne. 

In the year of 1704 was given by an unknown hand half a Field at Shrink- 
hills, which yields 3()s. per Ann m Kent, to be bestowed yearly for ever 
by the rectors of this Church in devotional Books for poor Families. 

Martin Dunsford. 1780 Nathl Cook. 

1650. W. Spurway, Gen*, gave for the sum of 40 pounds the profits of 
one eighth part of the Market of Tiverton for the benefit of the poor 

1654. Sir John Trelawney, Bar*, gave for the sum of 65 pounds the 
profits of the one half part of the Market of Tiverton for the benefit of 
the Inhabitants. 

1657. P r - Atkins, Gen*, gave 10 pounds & Ann for ever for the benefit 
of the poor inhabitants of Tiverton. 

1671. Thos. Maunder gave 1 5s. ^ Ann for ever to be distributed 
equally among the poor persons of Clare and Pryors quarters of 

1683. Jno. Loveil, Yoeman, gave 20s. <$" Ann for ever to be dis- 
tributed among 5 poor people of Pryors quarter in Tiverton. 

1693. King William & Q n Mary granted a lease (for 99 years) of 
the Manor of Elmore, containing 150 Acres to the Mayor and Corpora- 
tion of Tiverton for the benefit of the poor. 

1720. Peter Newte gave for ever several estates of Land, now produc- 
ing about 26 pounds per Ann to support the Charity School in and about 
Tiverton, and to buy devotional Books for the poor in the adjacent 

1740. R. Hooper, Weaver, gave 20s. per Ann for the benefit of 
certain poor people of Tiverton. 

1747 . Samuel Lewes, Merchant, gave 200 to certain Trustees to pay 
8 pounds ^ Ann the Interest thereof to 6 poor persons at their 

17.... Dr Berry gave 40s. <$* Ann for the benefit of the poor of 

17.... Unknown Donor gave 10 pounds <$* ann for the benefit of 
the Tiverton, distributed by th e Mayor and Corporation annually. 


Martin Dunsford. 1783 John Baker. 

1724. John Tristram, of Tiverton, Sergemaker, gave by will his Estates 
at Ashley, worth 30 pounds & ann to the use and benefit of the New 
Church and Charity Schools on certain conditions mentioned in the said 

1736. Thos. Enchmarch, of Tiverton, Merchant, gave by will 5 
pounds per Ann for ever to 8 poor men, inhabitants of John Waldron's 
Almshouses, to be paid yearly in November, out of certain monies vested 
in Trustees for that purpose. 

1769. Mary Peard, of Tiverton, gave 1,000 pounds to purchase Lands 
to be vested in Trustees, the Rents and Profits of the said land to be laid 
out in repairing St. George Chapel and tomb in the Chapel Yard. 

1777. She also gave 1,550 pounds in the same manner towards the 
support and maintenance of the Charity Schools, Tiverton, 40 pounds 
towards a new Clock in the Tower. 

1780. By her will gave 100 pounds to the poor of Tiverton, to be dis- 
tributed by her executors. 

1784. Richd. Cosway, Esq., Native of Tiverton, painted and gave the 
Alter piece in this Church. 


The word "room" as applied to the letting of seats at St. 
Peter's must be understood literally as a " vacant space." The 
seats themselves were as much private property as the cushions 
and hassocks are now, and this accounts for the irregularity of 
many of them. The seat-holder, if he chose, might be his 
own architect, and no one had a right to complain, unless 
something very outrageous was attempted. After the abolition 
of pew-rents the church expenses were defrayed by a Church-rate, 
and seats were assigned by Churchwardens. Between the 
present organ-loft and the vestry-door was the north gallery, and 
here certain seats were appropriated to particular farms, .eg. 
Castle Barton. The poor people, as they were not contributors 
to the Church-rate, sat on forms placed back to back in the 
middle aisle and in front of the Chancel. The Charity School 
children used to be accommodated in a gallery over the screen, 
the boys on one side and the girls on the other, under the 
supervision of the master and mistress ; while Dr. Dicken and Mr. 
Ley conducted the " young hopefuls " of Blundell's School to the 
Latin School Gallery. The evening lectures were free. Pew- 
rents were re-established after the restoration of the Church 







'T seems that, towards the close of the reign of Queen Anne, 
there was a general expectation on the part of the inhabi- 
tants that another Act of Uniformity would be passed ; 
and in order to afford room for the numerous Dissenters, who, in 
that case, would have to attend church, it was decided to build a 
chapel-of-ease. This was the beginning of St. Greorge's Church, 
the foundation-stone of which was laid by the Rev. John Newte, 
in the presence of several hundred spectators, on the 1st of 
December, 1714. It was imagined, no doubt, that Queen Anne's 
successor would be a member of the Stuart dynasty, and when 
George I. came to the throne, with Whig counsellors at his 
elbow, the zeal of the promoters of this new scheme sensibly 
cooled. Although Mr. Newte set a good example by sub- 
scribing 100, and Mr. Henry Blagdon a still better example by 
subscribing 500, the general state of the funds did not allow of 
the building being completed, and Mr. Oliver Peard, merchant 
and clothier, used it for several years as a warehouse for his wool. 
In 1727, a number of inhabitants, scandalized at this neglect, 
resolved to make a fresh start, and opened a subscription list with 
the following heading : 

" Whereas several well-disposed persons, with great concern 
and trouble, have seen the building of the new church unhappily 
at a stand for several years ; and upon that account, shew them- 
selves very willing to raise new subscriptions for the accomplishing 
of the said pious work. Now, upon encouragement lately given 
us by the present Lord Bishop of the Diocese, that he will grant 
us license for the performance of Divine Service in it as soon as 
finished, we, whose names are subscribed, being very desirous to 
promote this good design, do promise to pay the several sums 


written over against our respective names, to the Treasurer of 
the said Church, leaving, as in the first subscription, the pro- 
viding materials and ordering other matters requisite for the 
further carrying on of the pious design to the discretion of the 
fifteen highest subscribers, and such others as shall subscribe 
equally with any of the said fifteen, or to the major part of them, 
provided that our new subscription money shall not be applied 
to the payment of any old debt of the Church, but towards 
finishing the building, that it may be made fit and convenient for 
Divine service as soon as possible. Witness, &c., 8th November, 
A.D. 1727." 

Here follows a list of thirty-three names, and the amount 
subscribed was 1,304 9s. This time the effort was successful. 
In 1730, the edifice was completed, and on the llth October, 
1733, it was consecrated by Stephen Weston, Bishop of Exeter. 
In the same year, an Act of Parliament was obtained "For 
making a Chapel in the Town of Tiverton, in the County of 
Devon, a perpetual Cure, and for providing a maintenance for 
the Ministers who shall officiate therein." By this Act it was 
arranged that there should be no separate chaplain, but that the 
three Eectors and the Curate of Prior's Portion should perform 
the duties in rotation. For their services each was to receive a 
stipend of .15, and this and all other expenses connected with 
the Church were to be borne by the parishioners. I should 
state that Mr. Blagdon, in addition to his donation of 500, 
left a further sum of 1,000 to be spent on the erection of St. 
George's Chapel, Tiverton, but with the proviso that it should be 
built according to a model supplied by a Mr. James, surveyor, 
subject to such alterations as " would tend to advance the 
strength, commodiousness, and beauty of the said building, and 
not otherwise." Here, then, we seem to have the names of the cul- 
prits who are answerable for the hideous structure, with its " Turret 
and Steeple for one Bell," which incubates at the corner of Fore- 
street. Within, its appearance is not more engaging than 
without. On three of its sides is a gallery, and both this and the 
pulpit and the " Ionic pillars," and the severe-looking tables con- 
taining the Ten Commandments, seem to have been expressly 
contrived to mar the spirits of those Dissenters who should be 
unwillingly fetched home to the flock. Part of the land on which 
the church is built was given by Sir William Wyndham, Lord of 
the Manor of Pool Anthony, in the Parish of Tiverton ; and the 
communion-plate was presented by Mr. John Upcott, of Tiver- 
ton, merchant, " with a Patin affixed to the altar of the new 
church, which was sent him by a gentleman unknown, who 
desired that his name might be for ever concealed." Another 
benefactor of the church was Mrs. Mary Peard, a niece of Mr. 
Blagdon, who, by her will dated 20th May, 1769, left 1,000 for 
the repair, especially, of the roof. 


The first half of the eighteenth century was not a halcyon time 
of peace and prosperity. The artisans seem to have lived in a 
state of chronic discontent, and I have already recorded an 
instance in which some malfeasance on their part brought them 
within the clutches of the law. This, however, was only a pre- 
lude to three serious riots, of which the first occurred in 1720. 
The origin of the dispute was an attempt on the part of the 
merchants to economise by getting their worsted ready-made 
from Ireland and dyeing in piece instead of in wool. The 
materials could be purchased more cheaply in Ireland owing to 
the low scale of wages in that country ; and there was the further 
advantage of the wool having already undergone one course of 
combing. This system, as it appeared to promise a considerable 
saving, greatly commended itself to the Tiverton manufacturers, 
but it did not seem at all admirable to the wool-combers, who, 
finding that their craft was in danger, protested most vigorously. 
Words would probably have been wasted on the acquisitive 
clothiers, who, merely as a question of law, were no doubt strictly 
within their rights ; so the workmen, tortured by a sense of out- 
raged humanity, resolved to show them by rough methods that, 
at any rate from a Socialistic point of view, the thing was 
iniquitous. Large numbers having assembled, they attacked the 
stores of the principal importers, dragged the objectionable yarn 
into the streets, and destroyed it. They appear, however, to have 
kept back some to be hung as trophies on the sign-posts, and there 
part of it remained for nearly twelve months. Thus far it is 
impossible to refuse the combers some measure of sympathy. 
They had been threatened with the loss of their livelihood, 
merely that rich men might grow richer, and they would not 
have been human if they had endured without a murmur the 
callous, unneighbourly, and unpatriotic conduct of their employers. 
Unfortunately they were not content with this rather violent 
expression of their views, and their next step was decidedly revo- 
lutionary. They broke into the residences of those who first 
introduced the foreign worsted, and looted them. Two manu- 
facturers, Mr. George Thome and Mr. Thomas Enchmarch, who 
lived near each other in Bampton-street, were warned of what 
was coming and agreed to sally out with their servants to the 
assistance of whichever was attacked first. By this time the 
magistrates had assembled a number of constables and the rioters 
were attacked on Angel-hill. A battle royal ensued. The 
combers seized a horse-load of wood which happened just then to 
be coming into the town, broke it up into clubs, and for a long 
time the contest remained equal. In the end, the constables 
prevailed, and several of the rioters were taken prisoners. These 
were rescued for a time, but were again captured by the constables 
with the help of the military. They were conveyed to the county 
gaol, and tried for their lives, but appear to have escaped punish- 


ment. I may add that soon after the use of Irish thread was 
given up, not on account of this disturbance, but because it was 
manifestly inferior to the home-made article, and ill adapted to 
the cane sleas (whatever they may have been) then in vogue. 

The next considerable riot took place in May, 1738, and was 
caused by the enormities of one Grimes, a publican. Grimes, who 
was evidently no believer in the proverb that a cobbler should 
stick to his last, saw his way to carrying on a neat little trade as 
a middle-man. His mode of operations was as follows : he bought 
up all the serges which were returned by the merchants to the 
manufacturers (I presume, in consequence of some defect), and 
re-sold them to the same merchants at a lower price than they 
would otherwise have had to pay for them. In this way Grimes 
proved himself an extremely handy fellow for the merchants, but 
to the manufacturers he was an Old Man of the Sea. They could 
not get rid of him, for if they did, what was to become of their 
unsaleable wares ? On the other hand, the effect of his inter- 
meddling was a reduction in the prices of many good and saleable 
wares, the quality of which, but for him, would never have been 
excepted to. The workmen employed in this industry seem to 
have entertained a shrewd idea that the diminution in 
profits brought about through Grimes's agency would mean in 
the long run' less wages for themselves, and to avert this 
catastrophe they tried force. Contingents arrived from Bampton, 
TJffculme, Silverton, Bradninch, Culmstock, &c., and, when all 
was ready, they proceeded to the " Red Lion " in Gold-street, 
the inn where Grimes resided, and commenced an attack on the 
place. An entry was soon made and all the serges found on the 
premises were thrown into the street. Some were dragged 
about the town, some hung on Grimes's own sign-post, and some 
were torn up. Grimes himself was discovered, of all places in the 
world, in the oven of a bake-house, at the bottom of Gold-street. 
He was promptly " horsed/' on a pole, and carried through 
the streets of the town as a public gazing-stock. Finally 
he was deposited at the Mayor's door in St. Peter-street. 
The Mayor ordered him to be removed, and here, as far as 
Grimes was concerned, the incident terminated. Mean- 
while fresh constables were sworn in, and several of the rioters 
were taken and shut up in prison, the intention being to confine 
them there for a few hours only. Their comrades, however, were 
so enraged at the occurrence that a pitched battle took place 
between them and the constables. The workmen were defeated 
and compelled to beat a retreat. The conflict was renewed on 
Exeter-hill, when one man was killed and many others were 
more or less seriously injured. Such was the end of liiot No. 2. 

The third, and by far the most dangerous, outbreak occurred in 
1749. Previous to this, however, in the spring of the same year, 
there was a second edition of the Grimes episode. The villain in 


this case was Thomas Beedle, the keeper of an alehouse in 
Water-lane, who, it appears, had been guilty of the same evil 
practices as the landlord of the " Red Lion." It was resolved by 
the artisans to execute summary justice on him. They went in 
a body to Water-lane, stormed his house, " made hay " of his 
furniture, dragged his chains and worsted about the road, and 
turned on his taps, till the place stood ankle-deep in beer. 
Beedle himself they could not find, but one of his combers named 
Moses Quick, who had vainly secreted himself in a vat, was 
seized and made to serve as his deputy. He was hoisted on a 
pole, dragged through some pools of water, plunged in the mill- 
leat in Westexe, until he was more dead than alive, and then 
taken to the wool-combers' club, where he was restored with 
cordials. The rioters then dispersed to their homes. It is 
said that in the course of these proceedings they tried to break 
the man's thumbs, so as to prevent his ever combing again. 
After such a trying experience, it is not likely that Moses 
Quick resumed his connection with Beedle & Co. The grand 
contest, however, was reserved to the close of the year, and took 
the form, not of a day's outing, but of a prolonged and embittered 
strike. As to the merits of the quarrel there is room for a 
difference of opinion. The Rev. William Daddo, Head-master of 
the Grammar School, who is credited with advanced views on 
politics, sided with the men, and a pamphlet entitled " The 
Tiverton Wool-comber's Defence," printed in London, 1750, was 
supposed to have come from his pen. The facts appear to have 
been these. Owing to the competition of certain Norwich firms, 
the Tiverton serges were being gradually ousted from the Dutch 
market, where they had previously enjoyed almost a monopoly ; 
and to recoup their losses the traders of Tiverton fell back on an 
old expedient, that of using Irish worsted. Serges made of 
this material were not suitable for exportation, but apparently 
the manufacturers hoped to find new openings for business at 
home. As before, the wool-combers do not seem to have 
regarded this action as legitimate. As soon therefore as they 
heard that weavers were engaged in making serges of the foreign 
product, they removed the " pads " (the iron stands on which the 
combs were fixed while the wool was being drawn out) from the 
comb-shops, and declared they would never comb again until the 
Irish worsted was quite discarded for the purpose of manufacture. 
Moreover, a special meeting of their club was called, at which a 
resolution was passed that they would live on their club-money 
until the weavers were starved, or the manufacturers and serge- 
makers capitulated to their demands. The weavers for their part 
resolved to die rather than give up the manufacture with Irish 
worsted. Things remained at this pass until the wool-combers' 
funds were almost exhausted, and there was still not the slightest 
hope of a compromise. Affairs then took a darker tinge, and 


letters were dropped about the town, in which the writers 
threatened to murder some of the merchants and to burn their 
houses over their heads. The authorities were now seriously 
alarmed, and a company of soldiers was drafted into the town. 

On the arrival of the military, Tiverton was restored to its normal 
quiet, and nothing particular happened, till one day, when the 
combers were assembled in full club at their house, the " Half 
Moon," in Fore-street, a body of weavers passed by. As might 
be expected, the rival parties exchanged compliments. From 
words they fell to blows, and very soon a riot of the first magni- 
tude was inaugurated. The terrified shop-keepers put up their 
shutters and Fore-street was abandoned to the rage of the comba- 
tants. It was a lively scene stones and glass-bottles flying, clubs 
and bats swaying, with the inevitable result that many poor fellows 
had broken heads, aching limbs, and bleeding faces, and the less 
excitable must have wished themselves well out of the mSlee. 
Among the last was, no doubt, William Carrow. He was a weaver, 
but refused to soil his hands with Irish worsted, and sided in the 
present dispute with the combers. His fellow-workmen, hating 
him as a renegade, got hold of him and threw him over Lowman 
Bridge ; and he was dragged through the river till he was nearly 
dead. For this barbarous usage he afterwards prosecuted his 
assailants and recovered damages from them. In the midst of 
the hurly-burly his Worship the Mayor appeared, armed with the 
E-iot Act, but anarchy was now supreme, and he was not per- 
mitted to read it Finding himself impotent and the mob 
dangerous and insulting, he took the only course open to him and 
called out the military. Under their protection he read the Act 
and in a few moments the soldiers would have received the com- 
mand to fire. The rioters, however, thought prudence the better 
part of valour and dispersed, vowing vengeance on each other. 
An effort was then made to accommodate matters. The merchants 
and serge-makers signed a written agreement to limit the Irish 
manufacture to twenty pieces a week, and to abandon even this, 
on evidence being produced that it was detrimental to the 
interests of the Tiverton combers. In order that the artisans 
of Tiverton might have constant employment, the masters promised 
to keep in the town a certain amount of work which they had 
formerly put out to the surrounding villages. There certainly 
appears to have been much reason in this offer and it is strange 
that the combers did not at once close with it. Whether, how- 
ever, they suspected the motives of the manufacturers and 
regarded their proposal as being merely an attempt to introduce 
the thin end of the wedge, or, on the contrary, thought it a sign 
of weakness and a proof that by holding out they would gain all 
that they had been contending for, certain it is that they rejected 
the overture. As their attempts at conciliation were not well re- 
ceived, the employers now hardened their hearts, believing, as 


Dunsford has it, that any further concessions " would be meanly 
submitting to a mob and a foundation for further disputes." The 
men stuck to their colours and rather than accept the preferred 
terms, left for other centres of industry in search of employment, 
but not finding that things were very much better elsewhere, 
they gradually returned to their old quarters and made the best 
of their hard lot. Whatever we may think of the justice of the 
case, one fact is evident the masters won the day. The 
sympathies of the House of Commons were clearly with the 
employers. Immediately on account of these disturbances, a 
clause, which bore the name of the " combination clause," was 
introduced into an Act of Parliament (22 George 2. c. 27) 
rendering it felony to ill-treat, destroy, or injure either person or 
property. The penalty was seven years' transportation. Nor 
was that all. If any workmen should be convicted of combining, 
under the influence of any bye-laws, rules, or orders made at any 
unlawful club, he was to be imprisoned in the House of Correc- 
tion and kept to hard labour for any term not exceeding three 
months. This law was repealed by 6 George 4, c. 129. 

The last time I alluded to the Corporation of Tiverton, it was 
in connection with a contested election. The differences of 
opinion which provoked that contest showed no signs of healing 
as time went on in fact, they grew worse, until the body, as 
such, committed suicide. This painful occurrence took place in 
1 723, on the occasion of Mayor-choosing. Samuel Burridge, who 
then held the office, and certain other members, out of animosity 
to the rest, absented themselves. Unable to enter the hall, their 
opponents assembled on the stairs and elected John Tristram. As 
a demonstration, this was no doubt very fine ; it proved that the 
burgesses were free and independent, and would act as they 
thought proper, without any reference to Samuel Burridge or 
any great concern whether he was absent or present. Rather 
awkwardly for them the presence of the chief magistrate was 
essential in order that the election might be valid ; and to make 
matters worse, the Corporation, not having fulfilled the con- 
ditions specified in the charter, was ipso facto dissolved. Whether 
the members anticipated this result and were riding, so to speak, 
for a fall, it is too late to enquire ; such, ab any rate, was the law. 
The Corporation having ceased to exist, the government of the 
town reverted to the Lord of the Manor, the Portreeve, and the 
County Magistrates. However, the'leading personages were not 
inclined to acquiesce in this state of things as a permanency, and 
efforts were soon made to obtain a new Charter. With this 
object they addressed themselves to the inhabitants and invited 
them to sign a petition. To be quite accurate, there were two 
petitions, one being promoted by Samuel Burridge and Nathaniel 
Thorne, the chiefs of the Conservative or Church party, and the 
other by John Upcott and the Liberals. The design of the latter 


was to secure for the freemen generally the right of electing 
representatives to Parliament, or, failing that, to prevent any 
Charter whatever being granted and to merge the municipality in 
the county. The Conservatives, on the other hand, were in 
favour of the renewal of the old Charter. In spite of this they 
seem to have been successful in persuading the inhabitants that 
their aim was exactly that of their opponents the extension of 
the franchise ; and although, as Harding remarks, it is difficult to 
see how this cajolery can have been practised, there is no doubt 
that large numbers of people signed the petition got up by 
Messrs. Thome and Burridge in the full belief that they would 
thenceforward exercise a vote in the Parliamentary elections. It 
was not until 1728 the date of the next general election that 
they were undeceived, and then there was a pretty hubbub. The 
voteless folk seem never to have become reconciled to their dis- 
appointment ; they cherished a belief that there was some mistake, 
or that persons in high quarters had taken advantage of some 
technicality to exclude them from a privilege which was justly 
theirs. The truth is that in the new Charter no mention was 
made of Parliamentary representation, but, as it was virtually a 
restoration of the old Charters, the authorities continued to act as 
before and to limit the franchise to the corporators. The com- 
munity in general, however, persisted in thinking that there had 
been a vile conspiracy, and in 1778 counsel's opinion was taken on 
the subject. The person selected was Mr. Sergeant Grlynn, and 
the points submitted to his decision were as follows : (i.), whether 
the right of voting at elections was vested in the Mayor and 
Corporation only ; (ii.), whether, if the right was extended to the 
inhabitants by the Charter, their claim was forfeited by prescrip- 
tion ; (iii.), whether the Corporations of other towns exercised a 
similar privilege ; and (iv.), what steps he would recommend them 
to pursue. His reply was that the grant of the Charter was to the 
inhabitants, and that, if the Charter had stopped there, it would 
have been an incorporation of all the inhabitants ; but it did not 
stop there, the establishment was of two burgesses to be elected 
by the Mayor, Capital burgesses and Assistants, and a franchise 
might be granted to a large community and be exercised by a 
select part. He did not consider long usurpation would destroy a 
right, although usage had great force in the construction of any- 
thing doubtful in the Charter. He concluded by saying that there 
were many towns of a similar constitution, and that he considered 
in this instance the expense of litigation would be entirely 
thrown away. This exposition of the law, though hardly satis- 
factory to Mr. Grlynn' s clients, was an effectual discouragement to 
any action based on the assumption that the conduct of the 
Corporation was illegal. It did not, however, quiet the aspirations 
of the people of Tiverton for a share in the election of the repre- 
sentatives. In 1782, four years after Sergeant Glynn's pronounce- 


ment, a public meeting was held in the Church-house and yard, 
at which Mr. Martin Dunsford, the future historian of Tiverton, 
took the chair. The proceedings were tolerably harmonious, for 
on a petition for electoral reform being produced and read out, the 
Rev. William Wood, Curate of Prior's Portion, was the sole 
dissentient. The petition was then taken from house to house, 
and, as shewing the unanimity of the inhabitants, not ten men 
exclusive of the Corporation refused to sign. 

The following is a copy : 

" The humble petition of the Gentlemen, Merchants, Traders, 
and Manufacturers, inhabitants of the borough of Tiverton, in the 
County of Devon, sheweth, 

" That your Petitioners have been deprived of the great 
privilege of being represented in Parliament ; that a Corporation 
of 24 men only (many of them not resident and placemen chosen 
by themselves) elect two representatives for this borough, 
containing upwards of 5,000 inhabitants ; an exclusive advantage, 
of which there are few (if any) exam pies besides in the Kingdom. 

" Your Petitioners most humbly beg leave to observe, that a 
representation so confined and disproporuoned, is not only 
injurious to themselves, but a great national grievance ; insufficient 
to procure in future the blessings of a free constitution, and 
unlikely to speak the voice of the people. 

" Your Petitioners do.therefore, earnestly intreat this House to 
consider the subject of this Petition, in humble confidence that 
this House will seriously attend to their complaint and grant 
them such redress, in common with their fellow subjects through- 
out the kingdom, as the wisdom of this honourable House shall 

" And your Petitioners will ever pray, &c." 

The petition was presented by Mr. James Townsend, 
Alderman of the City of London and member for Calne. It was 
opposed by the representatives of the Corporation, and ordered 
to lie on the table with other documents of a similar tendency. 

In 1724, however, all this was still in the bosom of the future 
and the people welcomed their Charter with an effusiveness 
which was strangely at variance with the actual circumstances of 
the case. On the 24th of December the precious script was 
brought from London by Counsellor Manning, and the Welling- 
ton-road near Gornhay was blocked'for a distance of a quarter of 
a mile by a crowd of eager spectators assembled to witness his 
arrival. The Charter having been duly delivered to the Town 
Clerk at Hunt's House, it was escorted by a procession into the 
town. At the head rode a party of horsemen, \\ ho discoursed 
sweet music with trumpets, French horns, and kettle-drums. 
Next to them rode the Town Clerk, Mr. John Richards, dressed 
in a blue cloak trimmed with gold lace and so ample as almost to 
envelope his horse. He carried the Charter on the horse's neck, 


in a box which was covered with velvet and edged with gold 
lace. Following him came Counsellor Manning in his carriage, 
and other coaches (whether occupied or not, is not stated) also 
attended. Many hundreds of horsemen and the crowd of 
spectators before mentioned brought up the rear. In this order 
the procession made its way up Gold-street to the Three Tuns 
(now the Palmerston Hotel); then turning up into Bampton- 
street, it paused before the house of the new Mayor, Mr. 
Nathaniel Thome, when three cheers were given and drink was 
supplied to all who cared to partake of it. A similar scene was 
enacted before the house of the late Mayor, Mr. Samuel 
Burridge, in St. Peter-street, after which the company proceeded 
to the Town Hall, where the Charter was read out in Latin. For 
the rest of the day, and, indeed, the greater part of the following 
week, the town gave itself up to feasting, little dreaming of the 
disappointment in store for it. Some, however, were better 
informed. It is recorded that Mr. Shobrooke, an attorney, 
observed, as he listened to the shouting populace, that the inhabi- 
tants would yet curse the day when this Charter was granted. 

It is to be regretted that no account has been left to us of the 
election of 1728, although it is very evident from Dunsford's 
remarks that it did not pass off without considerable friction. On 
the other hand, we do happen to possess some particulars of the 
election of 1754, which may therefore serve as a pattern. The 
members of the various working-men's clubs and the labouring 
people generally were obstinate in believing that they had as 
much right to vote as any member of the Corporation, and it 
would seem that a Mr. Ballaman, who is described as an " eminent 
attorney," and who, if anyone, ought to know the law on the 
subject, had a great deal to do in confirming this impression. 
Two months before the date of the election the artisans wrote 
a letter to Sir Dudley Ryder, who was then one of the representa- 
tives of Tiverton, setting forth their claim and attempting to 
shew the reasonableness of it. No misconduct, they maintained, 
on the part of their forefathers and predecessors could possibly 
affect their electoral privileges, which they besought him to use 
his influence to restore. On the dissolution of Parliament being 
notified to them, the members of the societies before mentioned 
wool-combers, weavers, scribblers, and the like met at their 
respective clubs daily, to consult as to the best means of achieving 
their end. Whether by any device of mortal man they could 
have succeeded in getting votes, may be doubted, but they 
certainly aired their grievance and made themselves a distinct 
nuisance. They held nocturnal assemblies, and beat brass pans 
partly us a signal for their own members, and partly to strike 
terror into their natural enemies, the Corporators. The result 
was as we might expect. The Corporation were greatly alarmed 
and the Mayor, in particular, is said to have been horribly 


frightened. Not feeling himself safe, he applied to the War 
Office for protection, and soon after a troop of the Inniskilling 
dragoons, under the command of Lieutenant Suttie, rode into the 
town with drawn swords and with all the pomp and circumstance 
of war. Their arrival, however, produced very little impression on 
the people. They were still determined, if possible, to prevent 
the members of the Corporation going to the Town Hall on the 
day of election or taking any steps, unless their votes were 
included ; and they waited impatiently the appointed time, which 
was purposely kept secret. On the 17th of April a false report 
was circulated that the election was to come off on that day. 
Thereupon working men assembled in the Castle-yard, churchyard, 
and sheep-pens, their usual rendezvous ; and seven or eight 
hundred of them walked in procession, with the colours of their 
different societies, to the house of the Mayor, adjoining St. 
George's Chapel. One of them sent in a paper, but as the 
answer was not satisfactory, the crowd became demonstrative. 
Whether he was ill or afraid, the Mayor kepb indoors. The 
Justice behaved with more spirit. He sent for the Town Clerk 
and caused him to read the Riot Act in his presence, at the 
Mayor's door. The procession was then re-formed and the people 
marched through Fore-street, without any harm being done, to 
the Three Tuns, this being the head-quarters of the military. 
Here the dragoons were drawn up in line. The word " huzza " 
may mean anything in Dunsford, but taking the word in its 
ordinary acceptation, the people went by cheering and waving 
their colours. The conduct of the Justice at this point was, to 
say the least, eccentric. As far as can be made out, he seems to 
have set himself to provoke a breach of the peace, or rather he 
assumed that such a breach existed, whereas up to the present 
the crowd had been most orderly. It was no doubt extremely 
inconvenient to have large bodies of men parading the town for 
the purpose of stopping the election, but he might at any rate 
have had the decency to wait for some overt act of aggression 
before resorting to extremities. Instead of doing so, he bustled 
over to the Three Tuns and ordered the Town Clerk, who had 
accompanied him, to read the Biot Act a second time. After this 
he told the officer of the dragoons that now was the time to 
execute his office. The soldiers thereupon prepared to attack, 
and rode about the town with drawn swords. Meanwhile it had 
leaked out that the election was not to be held on that day, and 
the working men adjourned to the Castle and Church-yards to 
refresh themselves with one or two hogsheads of cider which they 
had subscribed for and brought to the spot. By this time they 
numbered at least a thousand. The Justice heard what was going 
on, and dreading the consequences of their drinking, went up to 
the sheep-pens with the Town Clerk and had the Eiot Act read a 
third time. He then tried to get the people to disperse, but in 


vain. They said they would lose their lives rather than their 
birthrights, meaning, of course, the right of election. They now 
walked in procession with the object of celebrating the victory of 
Culloden, and carried before them was a large silk flag, display- 
ing on the one side the Duke of Cumberland, and George II. on 
the other. The Justice on his part returned to the Three Tuns, 
whither he was followed by a crowd of workmen, hurrahing and 
clapping their hands. Certain of the dragoons then proceeded 
to the sheep-pens and attempted to make some arrests. This 
occasioned general resistance, and, after some bloodshed, the 
soldiers retreated without having effected their purpose. 

Whilst the Justice was engaged in swearing in additional 
constables at the Three Tuns, the people again formed in pro- 
cession and marched, with their half-pikes and colours, from the 
sheep-pens by way of St. Peter-street to Fore-street. Here the 
dragoons, summoned to arms by beat of drum, were drawn up on 
horse-back, with their swords drawn and their bayonets fixed, 
waiting for the word of command. The people, who must either 
have been intolerably dull or drunk with their potations of 
cider, quite failed to realise the serious aspect of things, and, in 
passing the soldiers, broke out into cheers. The officer, seeing 
them press forward, ordered his men to prevent them from doing 
any mischief, and shortly after, gave the word to attack. No 
provocation had yet been offered, and the responsibility for this 
very questionable act must be divided between the Justice and the 
officer in charge of the military. There is no doubt that 
Lieutenant Suttie instigated the Justice to order the attack. He 
was heard to say " Give me leave, sir, to order the men to 
fire, and you shall see the fellows hop like peas." On the other 
hand, it is perfectly evident that the Justice did not need to be 
instigated, and, being an older man, he ought to have restrained 
the subaltern's impetuosity. However, the soldiers were let 
loose. They began by knocking down a number of people with 
their muskets. Then they rode through the streets hacking 
with their broadswords and stabbing with their bayonets 
wherever they perceived the least sign of resistance. Those who 
fled were pursued, their colours taken and cut to pieces. A good 
many people were severely wounded and went home covered with 
blood. Among others a man named Henry Woodrowffe, a fuller, 
was terribly injured. He afterwards employed Mr. Cannington, an 
attorney, who had witnessed the affray, to assist him in recovering 
damages ; and the Justice 'and officers of the dragoons were so 
uncertain of their conduct that they agreed to make ample 
reparation for the hurts the people had sustained. One incident 
in the contest must on no account be passed over. While the 
troopers were dashing about in the execution of their orders, some 
women seized Lieutenant Suttie by the collar and took away his 
sword, which he never recovered. This was a sore blow to his 


pride, and a favourite subject of banter on the part of his friends 
who, very cruelly, would not allow him to forget his skirmish with 
the women and the inglorious loss of his weapon. If Lieutenant 
Suttie was in the wrong, and there is little doubt that he was, he 
certainly succumbed to a nemesis, which, though grotesque, was yet 
the exact fulfilment of poetical justice. After this the Corporation 
appear to have proceeded with the election of their representatives, 

The name of the Mayor who played such a sorry part in this 
affair was Mr. Oliver Peard. As I have already mentioned, he 
was Churchwarden in 1714, when the Corporation seats were 
erected. At the time of his mayoralty, therefore, he must have 
been rather advanced in years and in judging his conduct at this 
crisis, we ought perhaps to make some allowance for age and 
infirmity. He is said to have been the greatest merchant who 
ever lived in Tiverton. This, of course, was before the days of 
Mr. Heathcoat, whose enormous concern quite eclipses all previous 
enterprises. For the first sixty years of the eighteenth century, 
however, Mr. Oliver Peard was virtual King of Tiverton. Besides 
his house in Fore-street he had another at Bolham, which was a 
kind of retreat. It was he who planted the rows of lime-trees, 
which, with a Dutch regularity, line the road to Bolham ; and he 
also enclosed a part of Bolham-hill with a stone wall for a 
paddock and fishponds, which wall is still in existence to bear 
witness of the fact, but the paddock and fishponds are no more. 
He made likewise what Dunsford calls " an elegant canal " at the 
entrance of the village, but, the canal having been converted into 
a ditch, all its elegance has disappeared. In consequence of these 
improvements Bolham became a very popular resort, and not many 
years ago the stump of a tree was still standing near Hartnolls, in 
which was an iron ring said to have been used in bear-baiting. The 
death of Mr. Peard in 1765 caused a profound sensation, as being 
likely to produce disastrous effects on the commerce of the town. 
It was not known at the time that his family would continue the 
business, and among all the merchants of Tiverton no one 
seemed adequate to take his place. The same year died two 
other traders of note, Mr. John London and Mr. Veysey ; and thus 
three vacancies were created among the Capital Burgesses. 

Whether the inhabitants usually took much interest in these 
elections or were absorbed by the question of the Parliamentary 
franchise, is not very evident, but on this occasion, when the 
prosperity of the place was at stake, the people were wrought 
up to a state of frantic excitement, and behaved with a ferocity 
of which they had good reason to be ashamed. The explanation 
is as follows : Several of the woollen manufacturers were 
desirous that one of the vacancies in the Corporation should be 
filled by Mr. Charles Baring, a merchant of Exeter, who had taken a 
house in St. Peter-street some little time previously and had shown 


a practical interest in the place by giving orders for goods to 
various firms in the woollen trade. It was considered that if he 
were elected to a seat in the Corporation, he would be willing to 
extend his business very considerably, and thus the loss of traffic 
which was apprehended through the death of Mr. Oliver Peard 
would be made good. A number of persons, therefore, waited 
on the Mayor and Corporation, requesting them to elect Mr. 
Baring. The majority of those present engaged to do so, and the 
Mayor promised to call a hall for the purpose on the 12th of June. 
The artisans, on receiving this assurance, were immensely elated, 
as they had been under fears, that owing to a scarcity of work 
they would have to leave their wives and families and travel about 
in search of employment. These fears were now set at rest, and, 
in their jubilation at the brighter prospect which had opened out 
before them, they organized a grand procession and after march- 
ing round the town, with the colours of their respective societies, 
returned in the same peaceful manner to their homes. In the 
meantime the Mayor and his confreres seem to have thought over 
the matter at their leisure, and various considerations presented 
themselves which made them regret the decision they had 
arrived at. Conflicting accounts are given of what actually took 
place. One report says that the Mayor was guilty of higgling 
over the election and tried to make the best bargain he 
could for himself. Another version is that Mr. Baring's claims 
were exorbitant. He wanted to have the other two vacancies 
supplied by his brother and a friend. A still more ambitious 
scheme was attributed to him. It was alleged that his design 
was to lay the members of the Corporation under obligations to 
him in business, to monopolise all power and influence over that 
body, and, on this foundation, to obtain the receivership of the 
land-tax in the County of Devon. Finally, either himself or his 
brother was to be one of the representatives of the borough at 
the next Parliamentary election. The Mayor and his party 
declared that they could nob admit a man who entertained 
such views to their board. If they did, they would revert 
to the position of subserviency which they had occupied during 
the life-time of Mr. Oliver Peard. It was argued also that if Mr. 
Baring obtained the receivership, he would use the large sums 
passing through his hands as private capital and would destroy the 
other manufacturers, who, with their limited resources, would 
have no chance of competing with him. The raison d'etre of the 
Corporation, it is clear, was to look after their own glorious 
selves. (Subsequently it became known, apropos of the receiver- 
ship, that the interest of the Corporation was given to the 
individual appointed for an annuity of 80 and a pipe of port wine 
yearly !) Unable to obtain from Baring the premium required, 
the Mayor refused to call a hall on the day fixed. His decision 
greatly enraged the weavers and wool-combers, who had been 


given to understand that the majority of the Council were in 
favour of Mr. Baring. They determined, therefore, if possible, to 
compel his Worship to call a hall for the election immed- 
iately. Now the Mayor, Mr. Webber, lived at Bolham. 
On his coming into the town, on the 12th of June, he 
was beset by a croivd of artisans who followed him through 
the streets to the Angel Inn, and surrounding the hotel like 
famished wolves, insisted that he should vote for Mr. Baring. 
At length, growing impatient, they broke into the inn through 
the windows, the greater number of them being women. 
Then, dashing into the room where the Mayor was, they 
insulted him by pulling off his wig, striking him, and threatening 
to kill him, if he did not at once comply with their demands. 
These were that he should sign a paper, which they produced, 
binding him to vote for Mr. Baring and to call a hall within eight 
days for the purpose of electing him. Under these circumstances, 
and, believing that his life was in danger, the Mayor signed the 
paper and swore to perform faithfully all that was there written. 
They then visited in succession other members of the Corporation, 
insulted them in like manner, and by threatening their lives and 
property, forced them to sign the paper. The Mayor now issued 
a notice that he should hold a meeting on the 17th of June for 
the purpose of electing three Burgesses and three Assistants to fill 
the vacancies in the Corporation This occurred on the 14th, 
while he was still labouring under the effects of his recent perse- 
cution. He was, however, no more convinced of the desirability 
of having Mr. Baring in the Corporation than before ; and two 
days later, not thinking himself accountable for a promise thus 
violently wrung from him, he plucked up courage and determined 
to fight it out. Without regularly withdrawing the notices, he 
sent his beadle to the members of the Corporation to say, that he 
could not be present at the hall the next day ; and he despatched 
the following note to the Town Clerk : 

Bolham, June 16, 1765. 


I desire you will immediately recall the notices that have been 
given out to the gentlemen of the corporation, requiring their 
attendance, to fill the corporation, on Monday, by ten o'clock, as 
1 am obliged to be out of town ; and bring me fresh notices to b 
delivered out when I return to hold the court on Tuesday next. 

John Webber, Mayor. 

Whether the Beadle and the Town Clerk failed to carry out 
their instructions or the " gentlemen of the corporation " too 
vividly remembered the threats and intimidation of the mob to 
brave a further demonstration at any rate on the 17th of June, 
in conformity with the Mayor's notices, sixteen members of the 
council appeared at the Town House, and of these no fewer than 


fourteen signified their intention to vote for Baring. It was 
impossible, however, in the absence of the Mayor, to proceed with 
the election. Meanwhile the artisans had assembled, to the 
number of three hundred and more, first in the Oat-market on 
Angel-hill and then in the Churchyard, where more suo they con- 
sumed some hogsheads of cider. Having heard that the Mayor 
kept away, and that consequently any proceedings of the Corpor- 
ation would be invalid, they resolved, if they could, to find him, 
drag him to the hall, and compel him to hold the election willy- 
nilly. In point of fact, it was already too late in the day for the 
election to take place, but inflamed with cider and patriotism, the 
weavers and wool-combers searched several houses in the town, 
menaced the absconding functionary with death, and offered a 
reward for his discovery. As these efforts proved of no use, they 
set out for Bolham, where they smashed the windows of the 
Mayor's dwelling-house, broke open the doors, demolished the 
furniture and drank several bottles of wine and rum. They 
assaulted the servants, ruined the garden, and greatly injured the 
house itself ; broke down and destroyed five cloth-racks or 
tenters, the property of Mr. Webber, in a field hard by, and 
almost completely wrecked a large weir, three hundred feet long 
and nearly twenty wide, in the river Exe, by which water was 
conveyed to some fulling mills belonging to the Mayor. The 
houses of several of his tenants also were attacked and much 
injured ; and in the evening threatening billets were scattered 
about the village. These blood-curdling and mystical missives 
read as follows : " If any person shall lay any information against 
any person or persons when the northen storm fell at Bolham, 
distruction, yea, inevitable ruin, shall attend them." 

Previous to these outrages the artisans adopted another method, 
commonly known in our day as " boycotting." They had held 
frequent meetings at their clubs, and as the result of their 
deliberations, had written to several members of the Corporation 
informing them that unless they voted for Mr. Baring, they would 
have no one to work for them. In like manner they put up 
notices in various parts of the town, that, if anyone traded with 
such members, the combers and weavers and their families would 
renounce all dealings with him. To add to its stringency they 
imposed a fine on any member of their societies who should break 
this resolution. The consequence was that the business of several 
members of the Corporation was brought to a standstill and 
remained in this state until some time after the election. Mean- 
while where was the Mayor ? I am afraid history returns no 
answer to this question, but his reasons for being out of town are 
less doubtful. He had foreseen what a disturbance would ensue 
when his refusal to hold a court became known, and as he had 
no doubt the same regard for his life as other mortals, preferred 
not to court "distruction, yea, inevitable ruin" by remaining 



when such a course could do no possible good. But ho had 
no intention as yet to resign the town to the workpeople. He 
PUL himself in communication with the Secretary for War, and on 
the 18th of June about two hundred men of the 23rd Regiment, 
or the Welsh Fusiliers, marched into the town. By some sort of 
backstairs influence, also, he seems to have got a member of the 
Corporation who was in the army, removed, while another who 
was in the War Office, and who had been away from the town for 
twenty years, promised to vote on the Mayor's side. Four resident 
members who had agreed to elect Mr. Baring were now converted 
to the opposite course. What induced them to recant, it is 
impossible to say. Dunsford thinks money, or liquor, or both, but 
it is conceivable that they may really have been hostile to Mr. 
Baring from the first, and only dared to give expression to their 
views when under military protection. Having in this way pre- 
pared the ground, the Mayor gave notice that a common hall 
would be held on the first of July to fill up the vacancies in the 
Corporation. On the 30th of June, the day preceding the 
election, the town was in a great commotion. The artisans still 
stuck to their demand that Mr. Baring should be elected, and 
there was a rumour that they were to be re-inforced by thousands 
more from other places, and that by means of their combined 
efforts the Corporation would be terrified into submission. 
Nothing of the sort, however, occurred. The fateful day arrived, 
the three vacancies were filled, and Mr. Baring was not chosen. 
The successful candidates were Messrs. George Lewis and Richard 
Enchmarch, merchants, of Tiverton, and Mr. John Duntze, 
merchant, of Exeter.* Eleven votes were recorded for them, and 
ten for Mr. Baring, who was thus left out in the cold. The fury 
and indignation of the people, when the result was announced, 
were indescribable. Before the Corporation had time to emerge, 
a large crowd attacked the Town House with a shower of stones, 
beat down the windows, assaulted the Mayor and those members 
of the Corporation who had not voted for Mr. Baring, as they 
came out of the hall, and pelted them in the streets on their way 

* In 1834, on the occasion of the " Corporation Enquiry," a certain 
shorthand writer I believe it was the late Isaac Latimer attended to 
take notes for Mr. Heathcoat. The old Town Clerk, Mr. Wood, was 
under examination, when an interesting discovery was made, A scrap 
of paper was found in the archives of the Old Corporation, which a sense 
of decency should have led them to destroy before the commission was 
opened in the town. The paper was to the following- effect : " The 
undersigned recommend to Mr. Pitt the appointment of Sir John Duntze 
as Surveyor-General of Taxes for South Devon ; and the condition on 
which they recommend him is, that he shall reside and keep his offices 
in Tiverton : and that he shall pay to the,Corporation eighty pounds !\ 
year and a pipe of wine ! " When the shorthand writer got hoid of tin* 
Treasurer's book, one of the Corporators sprang forward in a fury of 
apprehension, which indicated plainly enough the pain which the expo- 


On the 2nd of July information was received against several 
persons who had taken part in the riot at the Mayor's house at 
Bolham. Two of them, named John and Francis Lock, were 
arrested and ordered to be sent, under proper guard, to the 
county gaol. As they were being escorted out of the town, a 
crowd assembled with the intention, it was supposed, of rescuing 
them. The officers, therefore, requested the attendance of the Mayor, 
to prevent violence being attempted. The Mayor complied, but 
the crowd were in an angry humour. Some of them declared 
that the prisoners should not be conveyed to Exeter, and the 
conduct of a Eobert G-ooding was particularly threatening. He 
seems to have constituted himself the ringleader, and to have called 
energetically for a rescue. In the height of his audacity he 
actually collared the Mayor, while stones were thrown both at the 
magistrate and the guards. For the moment there seemed every 
probability of some wild work. The Mayor, however, acted with 
promptitude. He ordered Gooding to be taken into custody with 
the others and committed him to prison for attempted rescue. 
It was then about nine o'clock in the evening ; and some of the 
rioters, observing the firmness of the guard, returned to their 
homes. Oohers of them hastened to Silverton, through which 
place the detachment would have to pass, and warned the 
inhabitants. Silverton. like Tiverton, seems to have been largely 
dependent on the woollen manufacture, and consequently there 
was complete sympathy and solidarity between the industrial 
classes in the two centres. The Silverton weavers and wool- 
combers, therefore, prepared a warm reception for the escort 
whenever it should make its appearance. The guard, it should 
be said, was a mixed one, consisting, of ten constables and 
twenty -four soldiers. On their approaching Silverton the 
constables appear to have gone on before to obtain quarters, 
while the soldiers halted at the head of the town in charge of the 
prisoners. ' To the devoted ten it was like walking into a hornet's 
nest. People shut their doors in their faces and they were 
obliged to remain all night in the streets, where they were beaten 
and bruised, wounded and shamefully handled by the enraged 

sure would bring upon them. This paper, addressed to Mr. Pitt, was 
signed by the " whole boiling " of them. The Minister sent it back, 
requiring the Corporation to make their own terms with the object of 
their patronage. It was beneath his dignity even to know that such 
things were done at Tiverton. The bargain was made in part. Sir John 
paid the 80 and the pipe of wine, but slipped out of the restriction as 
to domicile, and resided in the house which is now the office of the 
Western Times, at Exeter. The money and wine were duly delivered till 
Joseph Hume, making the tax consumers the object of his persistent 
attention, the honourable baronet first dropped the 80 and subsequently 
the wine was not given, Finally the story came out in the enquiry, as 
has been stated. 


multitude. The soldiers, hearing of the state of things in the 
town and wishing to avoid bloodshed, made a detour through 
some fields and reached Exeter, with their prisoners, early the 
next morning. A month later the defendants were put on their 
trial at the assizes, and, having been found guilty, were sentenced 
to a fine of 13s. 4d. each, and, in addition, six months' imprison- 

There is extant, bearing upon this affair, an order of vestry 
dated July 21st. 1765 : 

" Whereas an anonymous letter without any date was yester- 
day found in the garden belonging to the dwelling-house of Mr. 
George Cruwys, of Tiverton, aforesaid, threatening to Fire his 
house or Murder him, if he did not put the sum of 12 guineas 
under his back door between the hours of 12 and 2 to help the 
Prisoners : 

" Ordered that application be forthwith made to one of the 
Secretaries of State to request his Majesty's pardon to any Accom- 
plice or Accomplices of the person that write or placed the letter 
in the said Garden, or to any other person or persons that will 
discover the Author or writer of the said letter, so that he, she, or 
they may be convicted thereof (excepting the person thereof 
who write and dropt the same). And it is likewise ordered that 
the Churchwardens should pay such person or persons as aforesaid 
the sum of .50, which said money to be paid again by the 

At first, perhaps, the authorities intended to treat the two 
Poxes, with their companion Gooding, as scape-goats the reader 
must forgive the " bull ", if there is one but subsequently fresh 
warrants were issued. The worthy arcisans, who were the sub- 
jects of these instruments, when they came to realise all that they 
imported, made very wry faces. Besides having to leave their 
wives and families, a proceeding which they had always disliked, 
they were kept for a long time in suspense as to their ultimate 
fate, and generally, were shown no consideration whatever by the 
representatives of the law. The consequence was that the hearts 
of the wool-combers sank within them, and down, at any rate, 
to the year 1790, there were no more outbreaks of the 
sort. Some of the persons against whom warrants were 
issued must have absconded and remained away a considerable 
time. This is evident from a notice addressed by the Clerk of 
Assize to the Constable of the Hundred and others, calling on 
them to " apprehend the bodies of Elizabeth Saunders, late of the 
parish of Tiverton, spinster, and John Doe, who stand indicted 
for an assault on John Webber, Mayor, of the borough of Tiver- 
ton." The notice is dated 1771, and signed 

" J. FOLLETT, Clerk of Assize." 

During the summer of 1766, the year following these dis- 
turbances, Mr. Webber's house at Bolham was burnt to the 


ground. The occurrence may, of course, have been accidental, 
but, bearing in mind the repeated threats of the mob, it is more 
likely to have been the result of vindictiveness on the part of 
his enemies, who, afraid any longer to act openly, adopted 
this clandestine method of making him smart. 

Between 1726 and 1788 a succession of fires occurred at Tiver- 
ton. The great fire of 1731 has been noticed elsewhere. Apart 
from this the most serious outbreaks were in 1730, 1762, 1785, 
and 1788. On the first mentioned date about fifteen houses were 
burnt down in Newport and Castle-streets. The event happened 
on a Sunday, when the respectable inhabitants were at church 
or chapel. Suddenly, while the Rev. William Mervin was preach- 
ing someone burst into St. Peter's with a cry of " Fire." Great 
consternation was caused, and the service having been closed, 
the congregation devoted themselves to the task of suppressing 
the flames. In May, 1762, a fire broke out on Angel-hill which 
was subdued with some difficulty after twenty houses had been 
destroyed. On May 14th, 1785, a still worse conflagration oc- 
curred. It began in the house of Matthew Marshall, a mason 
living in Westexe-south, and during its progress it consumed 
forty-seven houses, not including out-houses and stables, and 
eight houses were pulled down to check its advance. The fire 
lasted from ten o'clock in the evening till three the next morn- 
ing, and occasioned a loss estimated at 2,000. Three years 
later, on;' the anniversary of this event, a fire broke out in the 
house of Moses Carter, a baker, who lived on the west side of St. 
Peter-street, and close to the churchyard gate. As the result 
twenty houses were destroyed. 

In 1741 there was an epidemic of "spotted fever" in Tiverton, and 
636 persons, or nearly a twelfth of the entire population, perished 
of the disease. It v as no uncommon thing for ten or eleven 
funerals to meet in the churchyard, and, to prevent unnecessary 
alarm, the tolling of the bell was omitted. About this time there 
appears to have been a good deal of distress in the manufacturing 
districts, and consequently the prisons were crowded. This, and 
the disgraceful neglect then usual in such places, generated 
gaol fever, the effects of which were by no means confined to the 
first and most obvious victims. A writer in the Gentleman s 
Magazine for the year 1743, in giving some particulars of the 
plague, states that it was a most fatal disease " of which 100 
died, in one prison at Exeter, in the space of a year, and which 
killed thousands in the county (as set forth in a petition from 
Halberton), between Taunton and Exeter, particularly at Tiver- 
ton, in which town 700 died in fifteen months, and the parish 
was at the expense of 500 coffins." In 1744, the Mayor, T. 
Cholwich, Esq., and the Corporation were displeased with the Town 
Clerk and determined to remove him. There seems to have been 
no difficulty in this, as they were armed with full powers by the 


Charter, but wishing to proceed in due form, they obtained 
counsel's opinion on the subject, and the obnoxious clerk was dis- 
missed. In 1745, the year of the Jacobite rising, the Mayor, 
Corporation, Clergy, and principal inhabitants of the town sent a 
loyal address to his Majesty King George II. through Sir William 
Tounge, member for Honiton. It was introduced by the Eight 
Honourable Earl Cowper, one of the Lords in Waiting, and 
his Majesty received it very graciously. The address was as 
follows : 

To the King's most excellent Majesty, 

We, your Majesty's most dutiful Subjects, the Mayor, Corpor- 
ation, Clergy, and principal Inhabitants of all denominations of 
the Liberty of Tiverton, in the County of Devon, with hearts full 
of loyal affection for your Majesty's sacred Person, and with a 
grateful sense of the many and great blessings which are secured 
to us under the present Government, as established in your Royal 
House, humbly beg leave to assure your Majesty of our utter 
abhorrence and detestation of that unnatural Rebellion lately 
begun in Scotland, and now raging in the North of England, in 
favour of a Popish abjured Pretender, tending with hasty steps 
towards the subversion of all that can be dear to Britons, our 
Religious and Civil Liberties. May the Almighty Providence 
which is the only true Guardian and Protector of Religious 
Princes and States, prosper your Majesty's endeavours in support 
of your own lawful Rights and the defence of a Free People. 
But that we may not only contribute towards this happy event 
by our good wishes : We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, 
have voluntarily and readily associated ourselves, and do most 
heartily unite in the defence of your Majesty's Person and 
Government, and in the mutual support of each other, to the 
hazard of our lives and fortunes, against all domestic Rebels and 
foreign Invaders : And we do jointly and severally oblige our- 
selves to carry this association into execution, in such manner 
and under such regulations, as your Majesty shall be pleased to 


November 21st, 3745. 

In 1 750 the Rev. John Wesley arrived in Tiverton. Appar- 
ently this was his first visit in a preaching capacity, but it is 
quite likely that he had been here before, as his brother, the Rev. 
Samuel Wesley, was head master of the Grammar School from 
1734 to 1739. The latter did not like Tiverton. Writing to his 
brother Charles, who had gone as a missionary to Indians and 
colonists in Georgia, he says: "I am in a desert, as well as 
you, having no conversable creature but my wife, till my mother 
came last week." Like other members of his family Samuel 
Wesley had a turn for verse composition and was the author 
of the following sonorous lines on Peter Blundell : 


" Exempt from sordid and ambitious views, 

Blest with the art to gain, and heart to use ; 

Not satisfied with life's poor span alone, 

Blundell through ages sends his blessing down. 

Since worth to raise, and learning to support, 

A patriarch's life-time had appeared, too short ; 

While letters gain esteem in Wisdom's eyes, 

Till justice is extinct, and mercy dies : 

His alms perpetual, not confined by time. 

Last with the world, and end. but with mankind (eheu !)." 

Samuel Wesley, who was the eldest brother of the Founder of 
Methodism, bore the reputation of a sour-tempered man. Eeally 
he was kind and generous, especially to his brothers, to whose 
needs during their college days he contributed most liber- 
ally. He did not at all approve of their theological beliefs 
and vainly attempted to convince them that they were in error. 
Samuel Wesley died comparatively young, in 1739, and a monu- 
ment was erected to his memory in St. George's Churchyard, where 
it yet stands. To return to John Wesley : he seems to have 
delivered addresses in the open air in various parts of the town, 
but his head-quarters were the Corn Market in Bampton-street. 
On the occasion of Wesley's first visit no opposition was offered to 
his preaching, but in 1751, when the same eminent divine again 
appeared in the town, a different feeling prevailed. His second 
visit took place in September, during the Mundell Celebration ; 
and a number of gentlemen's servants happened to be in Tiverton 
in attendance on their masters. As these Jeameses found the 
time hang somewhat heavy, they tried to work up a little excite- 
ment by organizing an attack on the Methodists. Preceded by 
drum and fife, and accompanied by a large crowd of on-lookers, 
they made their way to the Market-House, where Mr. Wesley 
was holding forth, and by their persistent interruptions obliged 
him to stop. It would appear that this apostle of evangelicalism 
was in considerable danger of personal violence and only escaped 
injury through the kindness of a gentleman in helping him to 
depart. After this the Methodists were the objects of continual 
persecution, and the people of the town, both high and low, lost 
no opportunity of shewing them that they were not wanted. 
Dunsford has recorded two rather interesting anecdotes relating 
to these attempts. " In the course of these violent proceedings 
some time near the latter end of the year 1752, the Mayor of 
Tiverton, in company, asked a respectable gentleman, who sat 
near him, what he thought of the Methodees and their religion ; 
and whether he did not think it right that they should be driven 
out of the town and be obliged to shut up preaching their non- 
sensical stuff here? ' I think, Mr. Mayor, you had much better 
follow the counsel of Gamaliel to the Jews, and leave them and 
their religion to themselves.' ' What ! do you think so, Sir ? 
Do you consider, Sir, what little reason there is for any new 


religion in Tiverton ? Another way of going to Heaven, when 
there are now so many ? You know, Sir, there is the Old Church 
and the New Church, that is one religion : then there is Parson 
Kiddell's, at the Pitt Meeting ; Parson Westcott's in Peter- 
street ; and the Old Parson Terry's at the Meeting in Newport- 
street. Four ways of going to Heaven already. Enough, in 
conscience, I think, and if they won't go to Heaven by one or 

other of these ways, by G they shan't go to Heaven at all 

whilst I am Mayor of Tiverton.' " The other anecdote is this : 

" A Methodist preacher, named Wildbore, about this time, was 
distinguished by his active zeal to gain proselytes in the villages 
of Halberton, Sandford, and other places in the neighbourhood 
of Tiverton. The attention paid to this man by multitudes which 
flocked daily to his preaching, gave great offence to some clergy- 
men and gentlemen living in or near those villages, who felt 
themselves neglected in proportion to his success ; they, therefore, 
encouraged such abusive attacks and interruptions as above 
described, to make him desist from preaching ; but finding these 
schemes ineffectual, two of them (I think in the commission) 
determined to make the law an engine of oppression and to drive 
him by it out of the country. The better to complete their 
purpose they applied to Mr. Henley, rector of Up-Lowman, 
Justice of the Peace, and brother of Lord Chancellor Northington, 
to assist them in the prosecution ; and represented to him the 
necessity of so doing, to prevent the common people from wholly 
neglecting the Churches, their daily labour and necessary duties 
of life. To this application Henley replied ' 1 have read in the 
New Testament that St. Paul fought with wild beasts at Ephesus; 

and if you cannot fight with one Wild Boar, by G I will 

not help you.' ' 

The leading spirit in these attacks seems to have been a 
clergyman, named Ward, who, by his misconduct had succeeded 
in getting himself " unfrocked," or, at any rate, had lost all chance 
of obtaining active employment in the Church. So, having 
nothing better to do, he was induced to go to Tiverton for the 
purpose of preaching down the Methodists. His visit, however, 
was productive of anything but this result. His sermons, the 
profanity of his conversation, and the bad company he kept, led 
many persons who were not previously interested in the subject, 
to look favourably on the Methodists, and to suspect that after all 
their efforts in the cause of reform were not altogether needless. 
Finding that preaching would not do, Ward turned to the law, 
and more than thirty Dissenters were indicted, one unfortunate 
and perfectly innocent female, for assault, and the rest for fre- 
quenting conventicles, unlawful assemblies etc. The Eecorder, 
Richard Parminter, Esq., declared that these indictments were 
illegal and did all in his power to discourage such prosecutions. 
Mr. Parminter was evidently very much in earnest. It is stated 


that he shook his head at the Mayor, as they sat on the bench, 
to show how gravely he disapproved of his conduct and that of his 
confederates. At length, after fifteen months of molestation and 
abuse, the Methodists were left to themselves.* In 1757 the 
first local preacher, William Roberts, was appointed, and the 
following year a meeting-house was opened at the back of some 
cottages in St. Peter-street. 

The present chapel in St. Peter-street was commenced in 1814, 
the nucleus of the building fund being a legacy of =500 left by 
Mr. Bere, of Puddington, for the benefit of Methodism in the 
county of Devon. The whole of this legacy was absorbed by 
Tiverton. As it was built in war times the chapel was very 
costly, and the Rev. James Jones (Superintendent of the Circuit 
in 1816) undertook an almost Herculean task in collecting funds 
in order to relieve the trustees of the Methodist property from 
their financial difficulties. No " Chapel Fund " was then in 
existence, nor was there any " standing order " prohibiting 
collections for local objects being made anywhere. James Jones 
travelled from north to south and from east to west, and happily 
succeeded in realizing about 500, which saved the trustees from a 
financial collapse, and a sojourn more or less lengthy with which 
they were threatened in the debtors' gaol. But James Jones, 
good as he was at begging, was hardly so good in his theology. 
He became involved in mists respecting Divine prescience, 
resigned his ministry, and died in obscurity. In 1880 the chapel 
was re-seated, an organ-loft was built, a rostrum was substituted for 
the pulpit, and the gallery front was painted in cream, white, and 
gold. It would be interesting to know what the trustees of 1816 
would say, could they rise from their graves, to the present 

* Mr. Wesley did not feel much admiration for his congregation. His 
diary contains the following- entry: "The place where the Tiverton 
Methodists hold their preaching service, is only equalled in dulness by 
the dulness of ,the people themselves." At first, he stayed with his 
brother Samuel, and afterwards at a house in Gold-street, formerly 
occupied by Mr. Ferris, where, until very recently, there was a window 
with Wesley's name inscribed on one of the panes by a diamond. During 1 
his later visits he resided at Hayne, his host being a Mr. Gamlin. 
Wesley, among his other whims, was strongly opposed to tea-drinking, 
and so impressed Mr. Gamlin with his views on this subject, that the 
latter promised his son and daughter a sovereign if they would not 
drink any tea for a year. Wesley, it is well-known, was a great auto- 
crat, and ruled his preachers as if they were school -boys. This trait in 
his character is illustrated by his inquisitorial conduct towards Roberts. 
This worthy man after a spell as an itinerant preacher, returned to 
Tiverton, where he espoused an enterprising dame who kept a shop. 
Wesley appears to have thought that he was entitled, as his spiritual 
chief, to catechise Mr. Roberts as to his accounts. Accordingly, he 
wrote to him as follows : " Have you not a large business, and don't you 
put away 100 a year after paying all expenses ? " History is silent aa 
to the reply. 


interior of the building which cost them so much toil and anxiety. 
It is clear that they themselves were not wholly indifferent to 
art. On the wall in the rear of the pulpit was a painting 
illustrative of the rising sun chasing away the morning clouds. 
We hope it was not intended to suggest sun-worship, but rather 
to excite in the congregation a yearning for brighter and more 
penetrating beams. The painting, however, gave place in time 
to a text of Scripture 1 Timothy i., 15 peeping out from 
between half-drawn curtains as if ashamed to show its grand 
simplicity. That yielded to another text, by no means an 
improvement, and the old rising-sun long hidden under paint, was 
utilized with questionable taste to represent the Descent of the 
Spirit. Now an organ gallery fills up the space. 

On the 12th of October, 1753, the Lowman rose to a greater 
height than had ever been remembered, and Mr. John Hurford, 
a serge-maker, in attempting to ride through the water, was 
drowned. In 1 75G an endeavour was made to find coal in the 
neighbourhood. A company was formed with a capital of 500 
in .10 shares, a shaft sunk about a hundred and fifty feet deep 
at Howden, and a drain made of equal length for drawing off the 
water; but the speculation was unsuccessful. In January, 1757, 
the Exe flooded Westexe. Several mills were swept away by the 
torrent, and the inhabitants were forced to take refuge in their 
bedrooms, where they remained in fear of their lives for a con- 
siderable time. In 1758, turnpike roads were started in Tiverton 
and the adjoining parishes, a Highway Act having been procured 
for that object. Near the wooden bridge leading to Mrs. Ley's 
residence, at the lower end of Elmore, there was formerly a stone, 
commemorative of this event, with a date inscribed, but it is now, 
I believe, removed. (Turnpikes were abolished in 1883.) In the 
same year, 1758, the militia were called out for service and the 
local contingent marched from Tiverton on the 5th of July. 
Apparently the same thing occurred in 1770, when the following 
warrant was issued relating thereto : 
Tiverton Liberty 

To the Constables, Sfc. 

These are in his Majesty's name, to will and require you to 
provide for and impress from any person or persons within the 
said Liberty an able pack-horse with a man to drive the same, 
wherewith to convey the Baggage of one Company of the 
Northern Regiment of the Devonshire Militia from Tiverton, 
aforesaid, towards Winkley, in the said County, making such 
allowance as the law directs. Hereof fail not, as also to make 
return at your peril. 


Given, Ac. 

2, June, 1770. 


Under date 1760, Dunsford has the following entry :. " The 
first post-chaise, for hire, in Tiverton. was set up this year, by 
Thomas Haydon," and this is all the information that can be 
gleaned either from him or Harding respecting the means of 
transit before the period of railways. Through the kindness of 
an old inhabitant, whose business brought him into daily contact 
with roadsters, I am enabled to add to this short notice some 
interesting particulars. There were two mail-coaches, one having 
its head-quarters at the Angel Hotel, of which Mr. Joseph Cannon 
was for a great number of years the proprietor ; while the other 
started from the Three Tuns, where the hostess was a worthy 
lady, Mrs. Grace Hawkes. The former of these coaches was 
known par excellence as the " North Devon Coach " and travelled 
to Southmolton vid the " Rackenford Bell," where the horses 
were changed. This first stage in the journey was eight miles 
long and occupied an hour. The route taken by the other coach 
was in the direction of Witheridge, and the first halt was at 
No-Man's-Land. The coachman and guard of the mail coaches 
wore the King's livery scarlet coats with gold lace around their 
collar and sleeves and they always appeared in a fresh suit on the 
first of May. In the winter when they were necessarily exposed 
to the utmost severity of the weather they donned great coats 
with two or three capes. In their way Tom Westcombe,of the 
North Devon Coach, is the best remembered of them they seem 
to have been smart fellows, and the guard, perhaps more than his 
successor on the railway, expected to be liberally " tipped." The 
London mail started from the Angel and proceeded by stages to 
Wellington, Taunton, and Bridgwater, where another coach 
awaited the passengers. These mail coaches were not exactly 
Government institutions. They seem to have been run by a 
syndicate. Thus one of the persons who was in partnership with 
Mr. Cannon was a Mr. Whitmarsh, a wine and spirit merchant of 
Taunton. The fare to London was 24s. on the outside. As the 
coach started at noon and took twenty-four hours in accomplish- 
ing the journey, the unlucky passengers spent the night on the 
top of the fast conveyance, doubtless shivering with the cold. The 
shoeing was all done by contract. Every morning the smith 
examined the horses and saw that they were in a fit condition for 
the journey. In winter they often required to be "corked." 
One day an employe of a Mr. Stevens (who, I am told, reaped a 
rich harvest from these contracts), was leading a blind horse 
through the market, then held in Fore-street, when someone 
struck it with a whip. The spirited animal plunged into a 
boot and shoe shop, and, as the real culprit could not be found, 
Mr. Stevens was made chargeable for the damage. It was not at 
all an uncommon thing for blind horses to be used in this service : 
indeed the pace at which they were driven seems to have had a 
tendency to produce this complaint. Usually there were four 


horses attached to a coach, but occasionally, when the traffic was 
heavy, there were six, the two first being called " the leaders, " 
one of which was ridden by a postillion. \4 propos of this an 
anecdote has been told me illustrative of the dangers of stage 
coach travelling. Before the widening of Lowman Bridge it was 
a frequent occurrence, in times of flood, for a strong current to be 
diverted towards the wall of BlundelPs School. Outside the 
pavement adjoining the wall was a clumsy wooden railing, and 
beyond that again an open ditch. This was the condition of 
affairs when one day the stage coach turned the corner of Pound- 
hill. The driver, taking in the situation at a glance, shouted to 
the postillion to keep as near as possible to the side opposite to 
the school. Whether the man was intoxicated, or mistook the 
directions, or the force of the stream was too much for the horses, 
certain it is that the " leader " on the right drifted across the 
road and stumbled bodily into the ditch. From this awkward 
position it was a hard matter to extricate him, both man and 
horse were well " soused," and for some time the coach was in 
imminent danger of being upset. On another occasion this 
actually occurred. It happened on this wise. A drain had been 
made under the street near the Three Tuns, and the ground, it 
would appear, had not been properly " rammed." The conse- 
quence was that on the coach passing, the weight of the vehicle 
occasioned a subsidence, and the outside passengers were precipi- 
tated into the street. Over and above the mail coaches, there were 
several private conveyances of the same description, and the competi- 
tion between them was exceedingly brisk. A Mr. Lake, who lived 
opposite the Town Hall, ran a coach three times a week between 
Tiverton and the County town, >and the journey, including a halt 
for refreshments at the " Ruffwell," took two hours in its accom- 
plishment. The scene at the top of the coach was varied and 
interesting. Besides the ordinary passengers there were pauper 
lunatics, prisoners on their way to " Botany Bay " with irons on 
their legs, and the like. On turning each corner the guard was 
required to sound his horn as a warning to pedestrians and drivers 
to " clear the road, " and the strains are said to have been lively 
and exhilarating, and, when the performers were competent, some- 
thing more, positively delightful music. Nevertheless, they did 
not always answer their purpose, as an instance is recorded of an 
old man being cruelly run down in the middle of Fore-street. 
As showing the high state of intelligence to which the horses 
were brought by training, I may mention the following circum- 
stance. At the Angel there was always at a certain hour a relay, 
and as the time approached, the horses stood ready harnessed and 
waiting the signal to depart. The moment the guard blew his 
horn at the corner of Westexe, the noble animals, of their own 
accord, left the stables and crossed the yard to the halting-place. 
Among the private coach owners I may mention Mr. William 


Paine, who himself frequently occupied the box and whose stables 
were in Birchin-lane. Mr. Paine conducted also a large 
business as a wine and spirit merchant, and as all persons engaged in 
the nale of spirituous liquors are forced to have, if not to obtrude, 
a sign of some kind, he chose as his emblem a Four-in-Hand. 
Some of the coaches were perfect works of art notably the 
" Tally-ho ! " which had its head-quarters in Exeter. On the 
" boot " of this vehicle was displayed the figure of Eeynard going 
at full speed, with a white tip to his tail. Goods were conveyed 
in heavy waggons which occupied. I am told, a week in getting to 
London. I have, however, an advertisement card referring to 
Dallimore's " original vans " in which it is stated that starting 
from the " Swan," Doctors' Commons, they arrived at the 
Mermaid Yard, Exeter, after a journey of only forty hours ; and 
one of these vans daily called at Tiverton. I omitted to say 
that several 'busses used to ply between Tiverton and Exeter in 
the summer especially, for the benefit of excursionists, and the 
children in the street had a ditty which they used to bawl after 
he happy holiday makers : 

"All the way to Exeter 
In old Thos. Allen's 'bus." 

On the ninth of June, in the year 1767, Henry Hooper 
and William Symons were sent to prison for three months 
under the combination clause of 1749, on the information 
of one Robert Rippon, for that they, being members of 
the Journeymen Weavers' Club, " did on the 18th of April last, 
act in and make a certain bye-law, rule, or order of the aforesaid 
club to the intent that no Master or Journeyman should or shall 
take any Girl to be an apprentice in the Art of weaving ; " and 
another to the effect " that no Journeyman Weaver should or shall 
work for any Master Weaver or Sergemaker, within the Liberty, 
that employed or should employ the said Robert Rippon in the 
business of weaving." In 1771 a new clock was placed in the 
tower of St. Peter's at the cost of .80 17s. 6d. ; and during the 
same year the tower was declared to be in danger from the River 
Exe, which for many years had been gradually changing its course 
and now washed the foot of the hill on which the tower is built. 
An order of vestry was made relating to the subject on the 
6th of August, but nothing seems to have been done to remedy 
the mischief until 1794. On the 24th of July in that year, at a 
vestry meeting, it was resolved to obtain counsel's opinion, 
whether the parish had power to compel Sir Thomas Carew, the 
Lord of the Manor, to build a wall as a protection from the en- 
croachments of the river. In accordance with the advice then 
received a wall was erected by the parish at a cost of 90 10s., 
which was defrayed by a church-rate. Since that time the whole 
of the slope from the churchyard wall to the river has been 


claimed by the parish. The declivity is generally known as 
" Chorl " and was formerly clothed by a number of splendid trees, 
I am not sure whether oaks or beeches. These trees were felled 
within living memory on the ground that their roots might in 
some way endanger the foundations of the tower. As, however, 
ExeleighHouse was being built about this time it has been suggested 
that the real reason for this very wanton destruction was to throw 
open a view of the tower and church (the former would have been 
visible in any case) to the new residence. Be that as it may, 
" Chorl" was let by the Churchwardens to Mr, Heathcoat. So much 
Harding relates ; but he does not mention the rent 3 per 
annum ! On the 8th of November, 1783, there was instituted at 
Tiverton " The Fullers' Friendly Society." According to the 
statutes each member was to pay eightpence, of which twopence 
was to be spent by the president in " Ale and Necessaries." 
Other rules were " That the Society's flag shall have the Fuller's 
arms painted on one side, and his Majesty George the 3rd on the 
other " ; " That the Beadle shall have a Cloak, laced Hat, and a 
long staff with the Fuller's Arms painted thereon, to use and 
wear when he shall walk before this Society at any public rejoic- 
ing, and at Church on the 29th of May in each year, or other- 
wise at the command and direction of the present steward and 
Committee "; " That this Society shall provide a Scarlet Cloak 
trimmed with fur for the president to wear when he joins the 
procession on rejoicing days ; also two staffs with the Fuller's 
Arms to be painted thereon for the Stewards, and six long white 
rods for the Committee to bear on rejoicing days, and to be 
arranged in the following order : The Beadle, the Steward, the 
Flag-bearer, the President, the Committee 3 and 3, the Society 
by pairs, and the Clerk last." There were altogether seventeen of 
these rules, for the non-observance of which the penalty was 50 
in the case of each defaulter. 

Most of those who take an interest in old-world newspapers 
are familiar with the travelling quack doctors who frequented the 
various market towns disposing of " infallible remedies " for all 
the ills that flesh is heir to, and displaying on their stalls 
mysterious bottles containing tape-worms, small lizards, &c., as in 
the shop of Eomeo's apothecary. The species is by no means 
extinct even now, but to-day these peripatetic medicos are a 
degenerate race : their glory has departed. Perhaps the best 
representative of them in English fiction is Whyte-Melville's 
Katerfelto, who spent part of his time in town and the rest in 
touring through the provinces. He appeared, it may be remem- 
bered, among other places, at Dulverton. Before the demolition 
of the Market Cross at Tiverton in 1783, it was not unusual 
to find on a market day in front of the building what was 
then known as a " High German Doctor." This individual, dressed 
in a fantastic costume, harangued the crowd on the subject of his 


wonderful pills and other medicines, and not unf requently adminis- 
tered gratuitously some stimulating potion to one of his 
credulous audience, who, feeling for the moment the effect on his 
system and spirits, failed not to publish among his friends its 
extraordinary virtues. The quack was always accompanied on 
these occasions by a jester, who combined with that office the care 
of the property, securing the cash from the sales, driving the 
carriage, &c. In connection with one of these itinerant doctors a 
singular story once came to light, which 1 will repeat, without 
apology, inasmuch as it may have occurred, for aught I know, in 
front of the old Market Cross. There resided in a certain town 
a learned medical practitioner of great repute, who was of the 
Hebrew persuasion. He had a large and lucrative practice, but 
like Dr. Sangrado in Gil Bias, he had one special remedy 
warranted to cure the patient who partook of it, and though the 
majority of these soon found their way to the churchyard, he 
was wont to declare that their death was solely due to their not 
taking enough of it. The doctor had an assistant pupil, who was 
supposed to be instructed in all the Esculapian mysteries 
possessed by his master. The grand secret, however, concerning 
that one particular drug, or whatever it was, the doctor kept to 
himself, to the great chagrin of his pupil, whose period of service, 
or apprenticeship, had now expired. Determined to possess a 
secret which he thought would make his fortune, as it had his 
master's, he agreed for a certain sum to buy it, and the contract 
was made ; but the stipulation was, on the part of the seller, that 
for a certain number of years the purchaser should not practise in 
the same locality, and that the sealed packet containing the recipe 
should not be opened for a certain time, or within a certain 
distance of the town. In due course the young practitioner, who 
by this time had set up as a " High German Doctor," felt at 
liberty to open the priceless packet, which was to fill his pockets 
with gold. Breaking the seals and unfolding sundry wrappings 
he came upon a piece of parchment, inscribed with Hebrew 
characters, to which were affixed in wax the arms and crest of the 
Jewish doctor. The young man, not being himself a Jew, was 
indebted to a learned friend for an interpretation of the 
mysterious scroll, which to his amazement read thus " Conceit 
can kill, conceit can cure ! " The young doctor could not see the 
fun of it, as his friend did, but, nevertheless, carefully preserved 
the packet and the secret to remind himself of his credulity. Many 
years had passed and he had travelled much with his carriage, his 
jester, and his various medicines, arriving at length in the town 
wherein, though now an old man, in feeble health and out of 
practice, still dwelt the Jew. It happened that among the crowd 
who stood listening to the new comer and the jokes of his clown, 
was the old Jew himself. Our " High German " friend soon 
" spotted " his old master and a happy thought . struck him. 


Fixing his eyes upon him, and with his finger pointing him out, 
he said, " There stands an old gentleman who suffers much 
here " indicating the complaint which he knew his master was 
subject to " and I possess the only remedy that will eradicate it. 
I purchased it many long years ago from a lineal descendant of one 
of the old Hebrew Prophets. Unless he takes this medicine he 
will die a horrible death in a very short time," &c. The effect 
was just what he anticipated a private interview and a fee. The 
exact amount which the Jew had demanded twenty years before 
from his old pupil, was paid, and the Jew, with, as he hoped, a 
fresh lease on his life, hastened home, opened the little box, and 
discovered his own Hebrew secret, " Conceit can kill, conceit can 
cure ! " 

In 1784 the following letter was addressed by Mr. Eichard 
Cosway, E.A., to the Clergy, Gentry, and Inhabitants of Tiverton : 


I have the honour to request you will accept at my hands the 
picture representing "The Angel delivering St. Peter from Prison" 
(intended for the Altar of St. Peter's Church), as a small token of 
the respect I have for you, and of the affection I shall ever re- 
tain for my native town ; to the prosperity and splendour of 
which it will always be my ambition, by every means in my power, 
to contribute. 
I am, 

With the highest esteem, 

Your obedient and devoted Servant, 


Mr. Martin Dunsford, who was churchwarden at the time, sent 
a fitting acknowledgment, and on November 4th, 1784, the paint- 
ing was placed over the altar. Apparently Cosway did not 
accompany his gift with a frame, and the expenses incurred by 
the parish on this occasion amounted to 20. Twenty-two years 
later Mr. Cosway presented an altar piece to Bampton Church, 
The subject of the picture is " Christ bearing the Cross," and I 
am sorry to say that its present condition does no credit to the 

Eichard Cosway was a native of Tiverton, being the son of a 
master of Blundell's School. He was born in 1740, and at the age 
of fifteen took the first prize ever given by the Society of Arts. He 
became the most notable miniature painter of the age. He was 
very eccentric, and believed in Swedenborgianism. He said he 
had conversed with more than one Person of the Trinity, and 
that he could talk with his wife at Mantua through a fine vehicle 
of sense, as ordinary people speak to a servant downstairs through 
an ear-pipe. His wife, whose name was Maria Cecilia Louisa 
Hadfield, was not a whit behind him either in singularity or 


genius. The remarkable pair have never been more effectively 
hit off than in a charming sketch by Mr. Joseph Grego. The 
article, one of a series, appeared in the Graphic, February 13, 
1892. Here are some choice extracts, illustrating the life of this 
Tiverton man in the great world of London : 

" The romantic Maria came of an adventurous stock. Hadfield 
pere is said to have been of Irish parentage, though a native of 
Shrewsbury ; he sought change of air and fortune abroad, and, it 
is stated, combined both, by keeping an hotel at Leghorn for the 
entertainment of British tourists ; there Maria came upon the 
scene . . . When the paternal Hadfield died, her mother wished to 
carry to London Maria, with her sister and brother, both gifted 
with equal enthusiasm for the Arts, but of less promise. Maria 
was for quitting the vain world for the cloister, and it needed all 
the friendship of Angelica Kauffman, also a fervid Catholic and 
at that time regarded as a phoenix among female artists, to 
dissuade her from taking the veil. Here in town at the top of 
the tide of Court and princely and fashionable favour was Eichard 
Cosway, the smallest edition of dapper humanity, already a Royal 
Academician. Smiled upon by ladies of rank and men of 
prominence, his dainty pencil conveyed subtle flatteries and his 
handling was so dexterous that in three sittings of one hour his 
brilliant portraits were brought to completion and paid for at the 
highest tariff until his miniatures from ' being fashionable became 
the fashion itself.' 

" The painter, patronised by princes and the elegant personages 
who followed in the train of Eoyalty, set up an almost regal style 
of living on his own account. His house was the marvel of 
London, and its costly contents were extravagantly appraised ; 
the wily diplomatist enshrined himself in splendour and received 
his sitters surrounded with art-treasures and articles de vertu, and 
probably found the profession of art-dealer more lucrative than 
even the golden harvest which poured in on the first of minia- 

" Maria had studied art and loved it, doubtless, no less than 
Cosway, and being a person of ultra refinement as well as talent, 
became the vogue ; it is stated that she successfully supported her 
family by the exercise of her artistic proficiency. Here were two 
stars of one firmament ; so it happened that the greater luminary 
absorbed the lesser. Cosway was united to Miss Hadfield, and the 
bride was given away by no less a celebrity among collectors than 
Charles Townley, who had met and appreciated Maria in Italy. 

" Cosway had long smarted under the sarcasms aimed by his 
disgusted and envious professional brethren at his flattering like- 
nesses and his art pretensions, his aptitude for making money, his 
apish person and his frantic dandyism and quality airs ; now should 
the world recognise his personal ascendancy ; the erst monkeyfied 
mannikin of their poisoned sneers leading to his gilded palace the 


most admired, accomplished, and affectedly self-conscious divinity 
of the age ! 

" Elevated in feeling, drawing her artistic inspirations from 
Spenser, Shakespeare, Homer, Virgil, Ariosto, and other poets, 
copying in facility of execution the ethereal sketches of her hus- 
band who boasted despatching in the course of his working 
hours some dozen sitters all of the first quality the presence 
of Mrs. Cosway, who was as addicted to finery and gorgeous- 
ness as the deservedly popular miniaturist, her husband, added 
hugely to the success of the establishment. 

" The pair installed in Berkeley-square, conducted their house- 
hold on a scale of lavish splendour surpassing their noblest 
clients ; both slaves of toil, devoid of dignity, scheming to 
dazzle the world of fashion and frivolity, and pass for the airiest 
trifles mere butterflies, Meanwhile they plotted, contrived, and 
flattered, advertising themselves by trickeries, toadyism, and the 
reputation for eccentric folly ; both clever, yet neither doing 
justice to art nor to their own abilities ; Cosway vaunting his 
mechanical celerity to which everything else was subordinated ; 
his most successful likenesses too often mere tinted sketches, while 
his wife's productions were meretricious to a fault. 

" Sunday evenings were devoted to her concerts, when all the 
more frivolous aristocracy, distinguished foreigners, musicians, and 
adventurers of all kinds and of both sexes, crowded the splendid 
receptions. The stars of the opera were there, but Maria 
Cosway was the chief performer. 

" The field of Berkeley-square was too obscure, the mansion too 
small : nothing less than the historic Schomberg House in Pall 
Mall would suffice, situated between St. James's Palace and 
Carlton House, the Prince's brand new palace, so conveniently 
adjacent. Pall Mall alone could contain the carriages, chairs, and 
lackeys of their guests, the linkboys, and sedan chairmen block- 
ing the thoroughfare on their weekly assemblies. 

" The Heir Apparent was Cosway's patron-in-chief : had not the 
artist commemorated the graces of the Prince's personality and 
the more redundant charms of Mrs. Fitzherbert ? and his princely 
admiration for art extended to its professors. His Boyal 
Highness was fair, with an air about him indeed Cosway's 
miniatures make him remarkably attractive. With the Prince in 
the days of his brilliancy came the world of fashion, of beauty, 
distinction, and art; the elegant hostess, all sympathy and 
fascination, had for intimates her Grace of Devonshire, Georgiana 
Spencer, fair arbitress of fashion, who followed too fondly in the 
Prince's train ; the Hon. Mrs. Darner, an accomplished amateur 
sculptor ; the Countess of Aylesbury ; the Marchioness of 
Townshend, famous for her dashing career ; winsome Lady Cecilia 
Johnstone, and the fair celebrities who led the ton ; thither, too, 
came Horace Walpole, foremost of dilettanti, attracted by the 


surroundings, the gorgeous art-treasures, the Royal Highnesses, 
famous beauties, the Italian vocalists (' Rubinelli warbling at the 
extravagant rate of ten guineas for one song'), the on dits, and 
delightful scandals, which formed such appetising copy for those 
MS. letters, some day to see the glories of type. 

" These glories were soon destined to fade ; Cosway became more 
eccentric, affected to see visions, to raise the dead, and to receive 
the honour of sittings from the Virgin Mary in person. After 
this, mere worldly patrons withdrew. Next the vagaries of the 
Trench Eevolution raised his enthusiasm, and farewell to princely 
favours ! When his Royal patron departed, away fled the 
fashionable following. Maria, the sympathetic art-enthusiast, 
found that commissions called her abroad; her demented 
husband was left behind. For a while she was a dazzling figure in 
art circles, finally living in Paris and copying pictures in the 
Louvre, but still surrounded with splendour and luxury, the idol 
of an admiring Court. Anon retiring to a convent, when 
spiritual cravings gained the ascendancy, overwhelmed with grief 
for the loss of her only child, she, in 1804, is described at Lyons 
as the superior of a religious seminary, at intervals one of her 
many ambitions ; there she was still in a mixed atmosphere of art 
and fervour, not divorced from mundane sanity, walking before 
her pupils to the cathedral ' with a long ivory cross in her hand, 
draped in a sky-blue robe spotted with velvet stars.' In 1821, on 
the death of Cosway, she was living in London, but has the credit 
of returning later to Lyons and her seminary to end her days." 

Cosway died in London in 1821 and his tomb may be seen in 
Marylebone Church. 

Cosway, I suppose, is the greatest light Tiverton has produced. 
But the town is not so strong in original geniuses that we can 
afford to overlook the lesser lights, and among the latter is 
certainly Mrs. Hannah Cowley, poetess and dramatic writer. 
Dunsford must, I think, have had this accomplished woman in his 
mind, when he wrote in such flattering terms of the ladies of 
Tiverton. After a hundred years no one can say that the fair 
sex of the town have fallen off in literary attainments, seeing 
that we claim for our own the authoress of the "Peasant Speech 
of Devon," and the writer who prefers to be known as " Alan St. 

Hannah Cowley was the daughter of Mr. Philip Parkhouse, 
whom Dunsford describes as an " eminent bookseller." She was 
born at Tiverton March 14th, 1743. Her father, who is said to 
have been a man of considerable attainments, bestowed great care 
on her education, and he must have been hugely pleased with the 
result. Miss Parkhouse married above her station, her bride- 
groom being Captain Cowley, of the East India Service ; and, 
although her fame was ephemeral, the admiration of her 
contemporaries must have been very flattering to her feminine 


vanity, especially as she could not know that her fame was 
ephemeral that she was " wearing but the garland of a day." 
In 1776, when her first drama " The Runaway " was produced, 
the public danced to her piping, and she was so much encouraged 
thereby that she wrote several successors to it. About the year 
1780 she composed a tale entitled " The Maid of Aragon," and 
dedicated to her father. In 1789 she lost her daughter, Mary 
Elizabeth, on receiving a lock of whose hair she penned the 
following lines, which, if not the fine flower of poetry, are yet 
not without a certain grace of their own : 

" Yes, time, Elizabeth, shall tell 
How like a flow'ret pluck'd you fell ; 
As gently it unfolds its bloom, 
In early Spring, unknown its doom, 
And to the Morn reveals its sweets 
But Noontide radiance never greets." 

Hannah Cowley died at Tiverton, llth March, 1809, and was 
buried in St. George's churchyard, where her monument now stands. 

In 1785 at the instance of the Churchwarden, Mr. Martin 
Dunsford, a vestry-meeting was held for the purpose of establish- 
ing Sunday Schools, not only in connection with the Establish- 
ment, but with other religious bodies. The idea was favourably 
entertained, and the necessary funds having been raised, accommo- 
dation was provided in nine schools for two hundred and forty 


It has not been ascertained when the anniversary of Blundell's 
School was first celebrated. It has been inferred, however, from 
certain intimations to be found in divers old manuscripts, that the 
custom dates back almost to the foundation of the school, though, 
as far as I can learn, it was never observed with any degree of 
regularity until the close of the last century. On one occasion 
the ticket of admission was designed by Hogarth, but some doubt 
exists as to when it was first used. Mr. Rankilor, one of the 
masters of the school, in a paper read before the Devonshire 
Association, (1891), gives the following account of the matter : 

" In 1725 was celebrated the first anniversary of the school, 
when the sermon was preached by the Rector of Tiverton, and 
by him dedicated to the ' Master of Tiverton School, and to his 
much-honoured (the epithet will bear a double construction) 
friends and school-fellows.' There is some doubt as to whether 
Hogarth's well-known ' Ticket of Admission to the School 
Feast ' was produced for this occasion, or in 1740, the date which 
the engraving bears. The former date seems more probable, for 


the reason that Hogarth did most of his copper engraving 
between 1718 and 1726, on the commission of booksellers 
generally. After the latter date he took up portraiture, and 
speedily acquired reputation and wealth. Of the engraving in 
question, two copies may be seen in the present Eegister, 
one of which was presented in 1825 by the Rev. W. Toms, of 
Southmolton, to the Eev. Alldersey Dicken, then head-master ; 
the second, vastly inferior, was inserted in the Eegister, together 
with an autograph letter of Lord Palmerston's, in 1859. The 
principal figure in the engraving is Minerva, sitting near a well- 
filled bookcase, and indicating to a child standing at her knee 
the school buildings in the distance. Near her Mercury is water- 
ing a shrub, to the apparent edification of another small boy ; on 
the left are two children reading, and near them again is an old 
man, possibly a schoolmaster, to all appearance in the act of 
discoursing in a casual way to a somewhat inattentive audience, 
not an altogether unusual experience, perhaps. Motto : ' In 
patriam populumque flux it utrique unus et ex uno stemmate 
surgit honos.' Below the engraving, in bold lettering, is a note 
of invitation, followed by the names of the Stewards. Under- 
neath all, in smallest italics, and yet important as a lady's 
postscript, 'Pay ye Bearer 10s. 6d.' At the School Feast in 
1728, the sermon was preached by the Eev. John Jones, O.B., 
who afterwards became head-master. It was published at the 
request of the stewards, to whom it was dedicated. A copy of 
this pamphlet was presented to the school library in 1887 by a 
well-known member of this Association, H. S. Gill, Esq., J.P." 

After its revival in 1790 " Old Boys' Day " was kept annually 
till 1849. It was again revived in 1874, and since then, except 
in one year (1875), it has been observed without interruption to the 
present time. The old order was as follows : The past and present 
pupils assembled in the school green, where a procession was formed. 
The Town Band, playing lively airs, lead the way ; then came the 
gate keeper in a long cloak of pale blue turned out with black 
velvet, and carrying a silver headed mace ; next the boys, then 
the masters, and last of all the Old Boys, two and two. They 
first walked to St. Peter's Church, where they were received with 
merry peals, and the preacher selected was always an Old Boy. 
After the invention of the camera, the next item was the taking 
of a photograph of the party. The " Old Boys " then lunched 
together in a thoroughly convivial manner, and the after-dinner 
speeches were often of the wittiest description. In the evening a 
ball was held, first at the Angel Hotel, and latterly at the 
Athenaeum a very gay affair, as it still is. Of late years the 
programme has been amplified by the addition of cricket-matches, 
a concert, etc., and Speech-day also is included in it. Old Boys' 
Day used to be kept in August, but it is now always held on the 
Friday preceding St. Peter's Day. 





>S might be expected from the former history of the place, 
the cause of the French Revolution found many sympa- 
thisers in Tiverton. The interest in that event was 
greatly accentuated by an agitation then going on for the repeal 
of the Corporation and Test Acts, by which Protestant Dissenters 
and Roman Catholics were alike disqualified from holding public 
appointments. In 1787 a motion had been brought forward in 
the House of Commons for abolishing these Acts, but was lost by 
73 votes. In 1789 a similar motion was defeated by a narrow 
majority of 23, These efforts for widening the basis of popular 
liberty were followed with the utmost anxiety in the constitu- 
encies, and in Exeter and Tiverton meetings of delegates were 
held during the early part of 1790 for the purpose of petitioning 
Parliament in favour of repeal. The close connection between 
this very mild propaganda and the larger movement on the 
Continent is illustrated by the fact that, when in May, 1793, 
one of the strongest supporters of these meetings was invited to 
subscribe toward the emigrant French clergy, then in great dis- 
tress, he replied " that he declined on account of universal 
benevolence, believing the priests to have stirred up a violent 
opposition to the cause of the Revolution in France, which, in his 
opinion, would be productive of the greatest good and promote 
the happiness of mankind." In recording this circumstance, 
Harding sighs over the contradictions of human nature. " Such 
principles," he says, " could only be expressed by a confirmed 
revolutionist ; and yet it is but just to observe, that the author 
of them had the character of a conscientious and charitable man, 
of regular and religious habits, and respected by his neighbours." 
He does not tell us who he was. 


Among the half-playful seditious leaflets which circulated in 
the town at this time was the following : 


At an Uncommon Council holden on Thursday, the 15th of February, 
1793, the following sapient resolutions were entered into almost 

Resolved. That our original Resolutions and Denunciations were 
made on the 1 Oth of December in Compliance with strict Orders received 
from above, and contain false Concords, or personal invectives, and that 
whoever represents them as an insult on the Inhabitants ought to be 
Muzzled, or wear the double bit political Bridles lately invented and 
greatly recommended. 

That as the Inhabitants of Muzzle-Town still refuse to follow the 
disinterested advice and bright Example of WE their Governors Pam be 
desired immediately to ride the Pretty Mare for further directions how 
to Act. 

That to check the prevailing dangerous inclination to REFORM (which 
night and day grieveth us) WE recommend Loyal Lectures to be read at 
the Inquisition every Monday, and that there be a Concert after, to 
which Barbers, Taylors, and every class of the Municipality be admitted; 
and that Romser be pressed to give the Stiff-Neck'd and perverse one of 
his Lectures on the present alarming Crisis of Affairs, when WK and the 
Association Dream with the dread of Insurrections. 

Resolved. Moreover that, if the infection of REFORM should 
unfortunately reach us from the Paddy Country, We shall have to 
lament the direful loss of our Places and Pensions, our fond and pleasing 
hopes will be blasted and many of us become chargeable to the Parish. 
That for these and other cogent reasons, Ecclesiastical and Civil, We 
firmly resolve to use every means in our power, as is our bounden duty, 
to check and prevent all Naughtiness whatsoever, and that whoever shall 
Speak or even Think seditiously, shall be immediately prosecuted by the 
Star Chamber. 

Resolved. That JACK RATTLE be earnestly requested to make these 
Resolutions as public as possible, and that he will give a Copy to each of 
the Spy Clubs. 


The war with France had the worst possible effect on the 
commercial interest of Tiverton, since the prosperity of the town 
depended very largely on its exports to Holland, and the route to 
that country was now closed. One proof of the badness of the 
times is to be found in the increase of the poor-rate, which, 
during the half-year ending September 28th, 1794, was 800 in 
excess of the highest amount ever known over the same period. 
This, of course, is attributable to the labouring classes being out 
of work. On the 27th of January in the following year, a meeting 
was convened by the Mayor, in order to petition for the restora- 
tion of peace, and a resolution to that effect was carried by a 
large majority. In the spring of 1797 the merchants of Tiverton 
assembled at the Angel Inn to consider the best mode of export- 
ing their manufactured goods to Holland, under the difficult 
circumstances which then existed. All this is evidence of aa 


acute crisis in the woollen trade of Tiverton, which, to tell the 
truth, was now verging on its complete and final extinction. 
Meanwhile, a number of petty and some very serious occur- 
rences diverted the attention of the inhabitants from the 
impending fate of their staple industry. As I shall have to find 
room in this chapter for some interesting subjects at which Harding 
does not even glance, I shall be compelled to pass by some of the 
very "small beer," which Colonel Harding sees fit to chronicle in 
dealing with this period. There is, however, no harm in stating 
that on the 24th of January, 1790, about twelve o'clock in the 
day an effigy of Tom Paine, author of the " Eights of Man," 
" The Age of Eeason," and other edifying and instructive 
lucubrations, was drawn through the town in a cart, dressed (i.e. 
Tom Paine, or rather, his effigy) in canonical costume and 
supported by a man on each side. A mock trial took place on 
Angel-hill and about three o'clock the same effigy was again 
carried round the town. This time he was accompanied (such, at 
least, is Harding's account, though the combination of offices 
seems rather singular) by a person representing a clergyman and a 
hangman. A gibbet was erected, twelve feet high, opposite the 
gate of St. George's Church, and a mock execution was performed. 
Later on, in the evening, the effigy was burnt by some boys at 
Greemvay, a flat piece of ground below Howden, bordering on 
the Exeter-road. On the 21st of May, 1814, the religious 
maniac Joanna 8outhcote, who was a native of Thorverton, was 
treated to a similar honour, only, instead of the effigy being 
hanged, it was burnt might we say ? -alive. 

In 1793 a large cotton factory was opened by Messrs. Dennis, 
Lardner, and Co. at the bottom of Westexe. In celebration of 
this event (it did not turn out such a wonderful boon to the 
town), the firm gave a dinner to about fifty guests in the 
Mayoralty room. In his MS. journal Mr. Martin Dunsford gives 
a very appetising account of this banquet. There were four 
turbots, he says, four haunches of venison, four necks ditto, ten 
brace of partridges, with abundance of other things in proportion, 
accompanied by a profusion of excellent wines. 

Passing over the accident to Mr. Staddon on the 4th of April, 
1794, an Act was passed " for paving and otherwise improving 
the town of Tiverton in the County of Devon." Herein was set 
forth the improper manner in which the town was paved and 
cleansed, and the number of obstructions and encroachments 
existing in different parts of the town to the annoyance and 
inconvenience of the public. Among other eyesores there were 
buildings on Angel-hill, where the lamps are now, as well as along 
the south side of St. Peter's Churchyard, besides numerous hovels 
in Westexe. The houses on Angel-hill were removed in 1807. 
The direction and management of the improvements were left to 
certain persons named in the Act, since called "Paving Com- 


missioners." and they were specially empowered to remove the 
pound of the Hundred and Manor of Tiverton, situated at the 
lower end of Gold-street " and to lay the scite thereof into the 
public street or highway adjoining thereto, and to erect another 
such pound on the waste of the Lords of the Manor in Lowman 
green, near the east end of the foot-bridge over the river 
Lowman." Among the first improvements effected by the 
Commissioners was the conversion of this same " foot-bridge " 
into something wider and more substantial. One of the bye-laws 
which was very offensive to many of the townspeople, was the 
following : " Every Inhabitant of the said Town shall repair and 
amend the street before his or her Dwelling House home to the 
Middle of the Gutter, or shall forfeit for every Ten Days' neglect 
after Notice 3s. 4d." Conformably with this regulation the 
authorities in 1797 prosecuted several persons for refusing or 
neglecting to repair the street opposite their respective premises, 
whereat great indignation arose. In 1813 there seems to have 
been the same kind of default on the part of the inhabitants, and, 
as a corrective, the following stringent notice was issued : 

WHEBEAS many Inconveniences and Delays have arisen from the neg- 
lect of the Inhabitants of this Town, to repair their Streets. IT is THERE- 
FORE ORDERED. That all Defendants on Indictments or Presentments 
for Public Nuisances, for the Neglect of the Kepairs of the Streets and 
Highways within the said Liberty, who shall omit to appear on Summons, 
shall have issues levied upon their Goods and Chattels, at the next 
Sessions after such Indictment or Presentment, and shall have Judg- 
ment against them at the same Sessions at which the Conviction took 
place, and Executions shall immediately Issue for levying the Sum 
Assessed by such Judgments. IT is FURTHER ORDERED. That the 
Execution on all Judgments for such Nuisances shall be suspended only 
once, unless it shall appear that the Defendants have used all due 
Diligence, and could not previous to the second Application for a 
Suspension put the Street or Highway Indicted or presented in complete 
Repair, and that in no case whatever shall &uch Execution be suspended 
more than twice. IT is ALSO ORDERED. That the Execution on all 
such Judgments shall be issued not only in the first instance, but also 
after the Expiration of the time for which they are suspended, as a 
matter of Course, unless a Suspension be specially Ordered, or further 
continued. IT is LIKEWISE ORDERED. That the Clerk of the Peace 
shall regularly issue Process of Distringas after Execution or Judgment, 
ad infinitvm, until such Nuisance shall be proved to have been removed. 
AND IT is FURTHER ORDERED. That Forty Shillings Issues be levied 
on the first Distringas, and such Issues be afterwards increased to Five 
Pounds on the second Distringas, Ten Pounds on the third, and Twenty 
Pounds on the Fourth, and every other Distringas issuing against any 
Person on Indictments or Presentments for Public Nuisances. AND IT 
is ALSO ORDERED. That no Indictments or Presentments in future 
shall be discharged or abated without the Evidence of one disinterested 
viva voce Witness, stating that the Street or Highway, or Nuisance, has 
been viewed by the Person or Persons giving such Evidence, and that 
such Street or Highway is then in Repair or such Nuisance abated. 

By order of tJw Court. 
Guildhall, 15th November, 1813. RICHD. H. STRONG. 

Clerk of tlie Peace. 


If anything could bring the recalcitrant Tivertonians to a sense 
of their duty, one would think that the reading of this attractive 
and lucid admonition " bonny writer words," as Andrew 
Fairservice observed, " amaist like the language of huz gardeners 
and other learned men " would have had that effect. 

We come now to the inevitable fires. On the 30th of June, 
1794, a terrible conflagration occurred about two or three o'clock 
in the afternoon. It commenced in the shop of Humphrey Eendle, 
a hot-presser in Westexe, and as the roofs of the neighbouring 
houses were of thatch, it spread with great rapidity. Very soon 
both sides of Westexe, the whole of Bridge-street, and several 
buildings in Wellbrook were burnt to the ground. As there was 
a strong south-west wind, sparks were blown across the Exe, and 
a number of houses on Angel-hill, as far as the " Old Bow," next 
to Slee's Almshouses, in St. Peter-street were burnt, but the 
" Angel Inn " was saved through the exertions of the landlord, 
Mr. Hawkes. At one time there seemed every prospect of the 
whole town being reduced to ashes. Houses were on fire both in 
Fore-street and in Bampton-street, and the oak spire supporting 
the vane over the Corn-market was burnt. The authorities, 
however, acted with energy and pulled down a house in Fore- 
street, in accordance with the provisions of the so-called Fire 
Act, of which mention has been made previously. This timely 
measure and the arrival of the fire engine from Cullompton put a 
stop to the flames. About a hundred and twenty houses were 
destroyed, the damage being computed at 7,899 16s. If we add 
to this the loss of other property, stock, and household furniture, 
the total amount was not far short of 15,000, of which only 
two-thirds was covered by insurance. A meeting was called by 
the Mayor, and subscriptions were invited for the relief of the 
poor, many of whom were wandering about the fields in a state of 
almost complete destitution. In response to this appeal the sum 
of 214 17s. was contributed, which was divided among the 
sufferers, after a strict investigation, in proportion to what they 
had lost. For this purpose tickets were issued, of which the 
following is a copy : 

" Tiverton Fire, 30th June, 1794." 

" William Chilcott, or the bearer, is entitled to receive the sum 
of 8 5s. as a dividend of 5s. 6d. in the pound (for an admitted 
loss of 30), on the sum of 215, received by subscription for the 
sufferers admitted to have a share." 

" Signed, 

" Tiverton, 22nd July, 1792." H. DENNIS." 

The Parish Eegister contains the following notice of the 
disaster: "This day happened a dreadful fire in Westexe. It 
broke out between 2 and 3 in the afternoon at the House of 
Humphrey Eendle, Hot-presser. It burnt all the Houses on both 


sides from Birchin-lane to Wild-broke. It burnt with such 
fury that some of the flashes set fire to the Houses on Angel- 
hill, and consumed several more Houses in the lower end of Peter- 
street, and the beginning, or west end of Fore-street. It is 
computed that 130 dwelling houses have been destroyed, or 
upwards, but happily no lives lost." On April 2nd, 1795, another 
fire broke out in Back-lane, Westexe, by which eight houses were 
destroyed; and on the 24th of November, 1797, a still more 
serious conflagration took place on the west side of St. Peter- 
street. Twelve or thirteen houses were burnt down, and it is 
probable that the mischief would have been still greater, had it 
not been for the efforts of some French prisoners of war, who 
prevented the spread of the flames by cutting off communication 
between the burning houses and those near them. The 
inhabitants themselves are reported not to have behaved well on 
this occasion, preferring the part of idle spectators to that of 
active and disinterested helpers. 

Turning to military matters, I find that on the 4th of March, 
1797, in consequence of 1200 Frenchmen having landed at 
Fishgard, in Pembrokeshire, 300 men of the 29th Eegiment, with 
two field pieces, marched into Tiverton ; and on the 20th of July, 
1799, the South Devon Militia, about 600 strong, arrived in the 
town, under the command of Lord Eolle. It was not a very 
uncommon circumstance for regiments of militia to be quartered 
here. For instance, in 1795 the York Militia, under the com- 
mand of Captains Torr and Hayes, were stationed at Tiverton, and 
the men made themselves useful by assisting to put out the fire in 
Westexe. Lord Eolle, however, was connected not only with the 
Militia, but also with the Yeomanry, and every year he brought his 
regiment to Tiverton for their eight days' training, an arrange- 
ment highly acceptable to the inhabitants, as it ministered alike 
to their amusement and profit. This was especially the case with 
the publicans. The regiment used to parade in Fore-street, and 
on these occasions Lady Eolle would appear on horseback with an 
officer's jacket, belt, sabre-tache, and plumed busby, exactly 
similar to those of her husband. 

Many persons, particularly those whose studies have not been 
specially directed to the condition of England during the Great 
War, naturally look upon the Volunteer movement as characteristic 
of the present reign. This view is in one sense correct, as it is 
only during the last thirty years or so that the force has established 
itself as a permanent branch of the national defences, but 
historically speaking, there were Volunteers in England before 
1859. Thus in 1797 it is recorded that the first meeting took 
place of the Tiverton Volunteer Cavalry on the 10th of July. 
They consisted of one troop, commanded by Mr. Worth. Their 
dress was scarlet and gold lace ; but not being fully accoutred, 
they had short sticks instead of swords. 


In January, 1799, the following notice was circulated by order 
of the Lord Lieutenant of the County : 

County of Devon, Hundreds of Tiverton, Halberton, 
and Bampton. 

" By Yirtue of Instructions from the Lord Lieutenant of the 
said County for Carrying into Execution the Act for providing for 
the Defence and Security of the Eealm during the present War, 
and certain arrangements tending to unite the force of this 
County and to prevent Confusion in the Case of Invasion ; the 
Inhabitants of the several Parishes, in the said Hundreds, are 
requested to select Competent Persons as hereinafter mentioned, 
to act as GUIDES in pursuance of the said Act and Instructions, in 
lieu of those already returned, Such Persons to be SToung Men, 
quick sighted, bold Eiders, and from their Occupations or 
Amusements, accustomed to know the Parish Eoads and Country 
adjacent, to be mounted on hardy Horses, habituated to the 
Eoads and Stony Lanes, and each of such Persons to be provided 
with a light Fowling Piece, a few Bulletts, and a Powder Horn, 
and such other Accoutrements as may be deemed necessary. A 
Corps of Guides of this description may perform all the Services 
of the Old Dragoons, and should they at their leisure amuse 
themselves with firing at Marks, so as to understand the quantity 
of Powder requisite for the Charge of their Guns, they may fully 
supply the place of Eiflemen. Such Guides will be entitled to all 
the Privileges mentioned in the said Act, and it is hoped that this 
measure will be found agreeable to Persons of every descripton, as 
they are united in Defence of what is equally valuable to them 
all. And such Competent Persons willing to offer their Assistance 
may present themselves to the Deputy Lieutenant at the Three 
Tuns, in the Town of Tiverton, on Tuesday, the 22nd Day of this 
Instant January, at Ten o'Clock in the Forenoon. 

" 5th Day of January, 1799." 

Passing to the year 1803 we find that in consequence of the 
threatened invasion, all the loyal inhabitants of the parish of 
Tiverton were called on, by virtue of an Act of Parliament (43 
George III.), to register their names and to state what duty they 
would be able and willing to undertake for the public defence. 
The notification ended : 

N.B. The several services required are : 

1st. Bearing Arms when an Enemy has landed. 

2nd. Pioneers. 

3rd. Guides. 

4th. Engaging to supply Waggons and Carts. 

5th. Millers to supply the Army. 

6th. Bakers to do the same. 

Moreover, all farmers were directed to enter their names and 
the amount of live and dead stock in the possession of each, that 


they might be indemnified by the Government for any losses 
sustained through the enemy or necessitated by the needs of 
the country. The returns were as follows: 216 oxen; 909 
cows ; 906 young cattle and colts ; 6,397 sheep ; 1,655 pigs ; 148 
riding horses; 336 farm horses; 20 waggons; 117 carts; 571$ 
quarters of wheat ; 92| quarters of oats ; 587| quarters of 
barley ; 5 quarters of beans and peas ; 2,306 loads of hay ; 149 
loads of straw ; 838 sacks of potatoes ; 120 sacks of flour ; 48 
quarters of malt ; and 5 tons of cheese. In 1 804 a Tiverton 
corps of infantry volunteers was formed. It was under the 
command of Sir John Duntze, and consisted apparently of six 
companies, as there is an item in the parish book referring to 
a grant of 30 to six sergeants, being at the rate of 2s. 6d. per 
day to each for forty days " for instructing the men in the use of 
arms." The money was to be paid by the overseers out of the 
poor rate ; and the order is dated Sunday, 1 9th August. 

The name of the local regiment of volunteers was the " Tiverton 
Fencibles," Although Sir John Duntze is stated to have been in 
command, his position seems to have been in some degree an 
honorary one. Anyhow, the actual duties were carried out by a 
retired officer of the line named Ferguson, who resided then and 
for a great many years afterwards in St. Peter-street. A Mr. 
William Talley, of Prescott, though a civilian, and knowing 
nothing of military discipline, was appointed lieutenant, or ensign, 
and, therefore, to the day of his death rejoiced in the name of 
" Captain Talley." Of this worthy yeoman's military life at this 
time the following anecdote is reported. The men having 
assembled in their drill-ground " The Works," adjoining the Old 
Church, he was deputed by Captain Ferguson to put them 
through their drill. They were supplied with rounds of blank 
cartridge and a " Brown Bess," together with a bayonet. On the 
occasion referred to he ordered them to load, make ready, and 
present. Then, to ensure precision, he shouted, " Now, gentle- 
men, shet, shet (shoot), and all to-wance." It happened one day 
that a panic was caused throughout Devonshire and Somerset 
owing to some mischievous person having set fire to one of the 
beacons. After the affair had been explained, there was a good 
deal of boasting on the part of the " Fencibles " as to what they 
would have done if Bonaparte had landed, and some war-songs 
were composed in allusion to the matter. Here is a verse of one 
of these effusions, which were, clearly, very broad and popular : 

Oh, Sergeant Bright has told me right, I cut a pretty figure. 

Why shouldn't I in battle try ? Sure, I can pull a trigger ; 

If I should kill great Boney-parte, my country \vpuld be befriended; 

'Twould be a thunder-bolt for France, and make the war be ended. 

As, however, the Government placed greater reliance on a 
properly organized body of Militia, Fencibles and similar bodies 


were dissolved, much to the regret of those who were liable to be 
drawn for the Militia when the annual ballot took place. If a 
tradesman had the ill-luck to have his number drawn, he must 
either suffer considerable loss and inconvenience through 
periodical absence from his business, or pay for a substitute. The 
sum of 40 was not thought too much to obtain immunity from 
this heavy burden. 

About this time the greatest alarm prevailed. Business was at a 
standstill. The Mayor and Corporation assembled one day 
in the Mayoralty Room in the utmost consternation at the news 
that the French had effected a landing somewhere on the coast of 
Devon or Somerset. The general belief was that Torbay or 
Plymouth would be made their base of operations. As a 
measure of precaution, therefore, beacon fires were prepared on 
various heights, that the signal might be given in case of a 
descent. These beacons were composed of immense ricks of 
wood, so prepared that they could be fired instantly, on the first 
intimation of danger. Each beacon was placed in charge of a 
man who was supplied with a telescope and who was instructed to 
apply the match to his rick if he saw the flames rising from 
another beacon, in whatever direction it might be situated. One 
such beacon was formed three or four miles from Tiverton, in the 
neighbourhood of " Christ's Cross," on the spot which is known 
to this day as " Fire Beacon." 

There were other causes of excitement besides the lighting of 
beacons. On one occasion a press-gang from Plymouth suddenly 
put in an appearance, producing the utmost alarm, especially 
among the class usually pounced on by these fierce unscrupulous 
sailors. Their object was to capture and carry off any who might 
not be sober enough to prove that they did not enlist, but were 
" impressed." whether they would or not. By some means also 
the whereabouts of many men who had passed a part of their 
lives at sea became known, and as one experienced sailor was 
worth more to a commander than half-a-dozen raw pressed men, 
such were specially hunted up. Now it happened that at this 
time there resided in Tiverton a very worthy and well-to-do 
tradesman, named. Orson Trent, who carried on a large painting 
and plumbing business opposite the White Ball Inn. The early 
life of this individual was spent on board a king's ship as some 
kind of petty officer, but whether he deserted or not, certain it is 
that H.R.H. the Prince Regent about this time had great need 
of Mr. Trent, whose residence in Tiverton seems to have been 
found out. Orson, however, was equal to the occasion, for 
when the gang appeared and demanded him in the Prince's name, 
his wife told the midshipman in command that he had gone away, 
she did not know where : he had left the neighbourhood, in fact. 
After the gang had quitted Tiverton, Orson is said to have been 
found in a loft over one of the workshops. 


During the long war preceding the banishment of Napoleon to 
Elba so many prisoners had been captured through the English naval 
victories, that the prisons devoted to their custody were found 
totally inadequate, and the officers of the captured French vessels, 
as well as those of the Army, were located in different towns, and 
allowed their liberty on parole, subject to certain restrictions. 
Tiverton consequently came in for a share of these gentlemen who 
were billeted on the inhabitants in a manner suited to their 
position and rank. With scarcely an exception these officers 
conducted themselves in such a way as to win the esteem and 
regard of their hosts, and in many instances, lasting friendships 
were formed with them. After the establishment of peace in 
1815 some of the prisoners, rather than return to their country, 
preferred to settle in England. Among these was Monsieur 
Alexandra Lamotte, who chose Tiverton as his place of abode, 
acquired property there, and gained much respect as French 
master at Blundell's School. Not a few of the Frenchmen were 
very clever and ingenious, and were wont to relieve the tedium of 
enforced leisure by arranging various games peculiar to their 
country, whilst others occupied themselves with carving wooden 
toys, making miniature models of their respective vessels, and in 
similar ways. Mr. Sharland is the possessor of a memento of one 
of these prisoners in the shape of a tiny beam and scales, and a 
box to fit them in. They were made of hard wood with no other 
tool than a pen-knife. An incident occurred at this time which 
wounded the feelings of the officers, as it seemed likely to shake 
the faith of Tiverton people in their honour. This was the 
escape of two of the prisoners, who left the town by night, 
walked to Torquay, or some place in that neighbourhood, stole a 
small boat, and made off, but whether or not they reached France 
was never known. Among the more distinguished prisoners of war 
stationed at Tiverton was Admiral Dumanoir, who in 1806 
received a visit from Sir Sidney Smith. Another was General 
Boyer, concerning whom the following anecdote has been 
preserved. At the window of a coffee-room in Tiverton had been 
posted a notice to the effect that two thousand Turks had been 
murdered in cold blood at Jaffa by order of General Buonaparte. 
Boyer, who happened to have had a command in Egypt, read this 
bulletin, and with true French sang froid took out his pencil and 
altered the words " two thousand " into " three thousand five 
hundred." As some proof of the interest taken by the inhabit- 
ants in the prisoners, I may quote the following entry in the 
Churchwardens' Accounts for the year 1796 : 

" Richard Hawks, 4 quarts and 1 pint of brandy for the French 
prisoners ! Os. 3d." 

Evidently this alludes to the rank-and-file. On the 5th of 
December, 1797, a hundred and eighty of the latter, under an 


escort of the Wiltshire Militia, were marched to Stapledon Prison, 
near Bristol. Their departure was much regretted.* 

In 1801, there was something like a famine in Tiverton. The 
price of wheat ranged from 18s. to a guinea a bushel, potatoes 
were from 14s. to 21s. a sack, and bread was so scarce that in 
some instances it could not be bought for money. On the 5th 
of December, 1805, by order of the Privy Council, a general 
thanksgiving took place for the victory of Trafalgar; and a 
sermon was preached at St. Peter's by the Rev. G. Colton, curate 
of Prior's Portion, of whom more hereafter. 

On the 3rd of February, 1810, a new flag having been 
presented to their society by Mr. Matthew Wood, the wool- 
combers celebrated the occasion by parading the streets. With 
regard to this flag, it is stated that the ground was of blue silk, 
and that it bore on the one side a representation of Bishop Blaize, 
while on the other were figured a shepherd and a shepherdess, accom- 
panied by a lamb and a dog. On the 27th of June, in the same year, 
the weavers walked in procession for the purpose of displaying a 
new flag which had been given to them by Captain George Darby, 
of the Guards, who was a native of Tiverton, and had himself been 
brought up as a weaver. Thus far Colonel Harding. To judge 
from his rather meagre description one would suppose that these 
were quite isolated occurrences, but such was not the case. The 
period just before Christmas was known in the woollen trade as 
" Blaize Time," i.e. the time of the year when the official known 
by the name of Bishop Blaize was annually chosen. What his 
duties, privileges, and emoluments consisted in, I have not been 
able to ascertain, but that he was a personage regarded with 
respect by all branches of the industry is beyond a doubt. Much 
feasting and a general settling of accounts took place at " Blaize 
Time," and on the day when the Right Rev. Bishop for the year 
took the oaths and was handed his crozier, a large procession of 
the various clubs marched from some part of Westexe, through 
the principal streets to St. Peter's Church, where a sermon was 
preached. The Town Band and a drum and fife Band usually 
accompanied them. An old inhabitant from whom I have 
gathered these particulars, says he recollects one of their banners 
as being a fine work of art. It was a large flag of yellow silk 
with a beautiful picture of a shepherdess with a lamb on her lap, 
and a shepherd with his crook standing near. Other flags belong- 
ing to the various sections of the woollen trade had each some 
appropriate device emblematic of their craft. My informant 
states that he knew the last of the Blaizes. On the occasion of 
his elevation to the episcopate the annual sermon was preached by 

* At eight o'clock every evening during the time that the French 
prisoners were here on their parole, the bell was rung at St. George's, to 
warn them that they must be within the turnpike gates by that hour. 


the Eev. John Pitman, who took for his text 1 Tim. iii., 1, " This 
is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a Bishop, he desireth 
a good work." In his old age the worthy dignitary fell on evil 
days. He was known as " Old Wyburn," and earned a precarious 
livelihood by hawking salt fish. Sic transit gloria mundi. 

I may here refer to some other customs of a less agreeable 
nature which were formerly in vogue at Tiverton. The popular 
name of the place was " Whipshire," a description which has puzzled 
etymologists, and has led to occasional discussions in the news- 
papers. There seems to be no doubt, however, that the explana- 
tion of the term is as follows. The reader must have heard the 
expression "the fellow deserves a flogging at the cart's tail." 
There is an allusion in the phrase to a form of punishment 
inflicted on rogues and vagabonds in the last century. It was 
none other than tying the evildoer's two hands together and 
fastening them to a " cart's tail " by means of a rope. The cart 
was then driven round the town, a " whipper " running beside the 
culprit and administering strokes from time to time. It seems 
incredible, but this punishment was actually ordered by the 
magistrates, and was in such favour with them that the town 
acquired an evil notoriety as " Old Whipshire," and any of the 
inhabitants migrating to another place might expect to be 
" chaffed " on the subject. 

The last man to be punished in this way was named Galliver. 
He had been convicted of stealing sticks. Starting from the 
usual place, the Bridewell, he was whipped up St. Andrew-street, 
and then around the town, as far as the old Town Hall. Here a 
gentleman was standing, with a gold-headed cane in his hand. On 
catching sight of the party, he shouted to the officer, Christopher 
Facey, " Give it to him, Facey ! give it to him, Facey ! " and 
finding that his admonitions did not produce the desired effect, 
he went into action with his gold-headed cane. This he had no 
right to do, and perhaps he owed it to his position that he was 
not called to account for his conduct. . 

Besides this, however, there was a rough sort of justice meted 
out by the artisans themselves. I have recorded some instances 
of popular vengeance in the foregoing chapter, but there were at 
least two standing institutions of the sort. Anyone who is at 
all acquainted with the town, knows where the "MillLeat" is 
situated. It extends from a point beyond Loughborough, runs 
parallel for a time with the factory yard, and after supplying a 
flour mill, discharges itself into the Exe a little above Exe-bridge. 
At a certain part of this leat, near the factory gate, disgraceful 
scenes were enacted under the name of " cold staving," a penalty 
incurred a hundred years ago or more by Benedicks, whose 
unfaithfulness to their spouses rendered them particularly 
obnoxious to their fellow-workmen. It consisted in securing the 
offender, seating him astride on a long pole, one end of which 


was held by a man on one side of the leat and the other end by 
a man on the other side. They then commenced to jerk the pole 
with the object of shaking the culprit into the stream. After 
the shaking, whether or not the result was a ducking, the offender 
was allowed to go free. This institution was confined exclusively 
to the combers and weavers and existed long before the establish- 
ment of the lace industry. Down, however, to the year 1820 a 
still more scandalous performance was winked at by the 
authorities. It was commonly known as " Skiramington Riding," 
and was designed as a punishment for the same class of offenders 
as those before mentioned. The spectacle was of this kind : A 
donkey was procured and two fellows were engaged to ride on it 
back to back, one of whom was dressed in a gown and bonnet to 
represent the erring fair one, while the other took the place of 
the Lothario. Each was furnished with a long ladle or other 
domestic implement, with which from time to time they pre- 
tended to strike each other. In this manner, with a drum and 
fife in front, and youths beating frying pans, etc., behind, they 
were followed through the streets by a noisy mob of, perhaps, a 
thousand in number, until they finally stopped at the houses of 
the guilty parties where the shouting and rough music were 
redoubled. The ducking-stool was by the leat, and the stocks in 
front of St. George's Church. The latter were in use down to 
about 1830, the last occupant being a well-known character 
named John Henson, but more generally called by his sobriquet 
of " Jack Pickaxe," He was a half-witted and eccentric creature 
and the subject of great amusement to the rising generation, who 
affected to sympathise with him in his involuntary detention. 
On the occasion in question Jack was heard to remark that after 
such an indignity " he should never respect himself."* 

The jubilee of George III., which fell in the year 1810 was 
observed with great festivity at Tiverton. The Mayor and 
Corporation, accompanied by the Yeomanry and the Bifle 
Company, the Weavers and Woolcombers, etc., with their flags 
and banners, marched in procession to St. Peter's; and a very 
happy day was spent. The poor were regaled with beef and 
pudding; and bullocks were roasted whole both in the factory 
yard and in a field near the Bampton turnpike gate. 

A curious relic of the " olden times " was discovered 
recently in the form of a manuscript note-book containing a 
description in verse of men and things at the beginning of the 
present century. I insert a few of the stanzas here. 

I well remember good old times, 

When old men wore bag wigs, 
When three-cocked hats their heads adorn'd, 

And fancy hose their legs. 

* On the demolition of the old prison the stocks were bought by Mr. 
Beck, builder, and af te r remaining in his yard for some years, were sold 
as old timber. 


And he who had a goodly calf 

With well-turned ankle bones, 
Might show them as he tripp'd along 

To Church upon the stones. 

The waistcoat then, both neat and clean, 

Was made of ample size ; 
And he who wore it, found he had 

Its pockets on his thighs ! 

The coat well fitted to the shape 
Came down, both straight and long, 

With flowing skirts and pocket flaps, 
And buttons large and strong ! 

A Holland shirt then always had 

A frill well plaited in, 
And fastened neatly in the pleats 

With a gold bosom pin ! 

Then white as blossom was each wig, 

For all might freely wear, 
Without the burden of a tax, 
. Fine powder in the hair. 

The tail, too, then so neatly tied 

All round with ribbon black, 
Hung flowing gracefully behind, 

And quite adorn'd the back I| 

Whilst silver chain, and seal, and key, 

As everyone might see, 
Came dangling on his breeches down, 

Almost down to the knee ! 

To this but add a stately cane, 

With head of virgin gold ! 
And then you'll see how gentlemen 

Were dressed in days of old I 

The writer proceeds to enumerate some of the celebrities o the 
town at the time of which he wrote, mentioning among others 

Good old Mr. Follett who 

Of parsons was the best, 
Whose breeches were of Florentine, 

And Florentine his vest. 

All the characters in the poem whether good, bad or in- 
different seem to have been snuff-takers. The writer says : 

No greeting then was deemed sincere, 

No chatting thought enough, 
That didn't end with an " Oh dear ! 

Come 1 take a pinch of snuff." 


Perhaps the municipal authorities of the present day might get 
a hint or two for the next " Mayor's Sunday " from the following 
description of the Corporation going to church : 

Oh what a turn out then you saw, 
With Sergeant Needs and Brenston, 

Whose three-cock'd hats were trimm'd with gold, 
And waistcoats made of crimson. 

And then the Mayor and Aldermen 

In scarlet robes attir'd, 
With twelve assistant Burgesses 

Walk'd forth to be admir'd I* 

The writer, who endorses his MS. with the words " Finished 
4th August, 1841," concludes with a promise to prepare another 

By setting down the lives 
Of such as ought to shine in verse, 
Among the maids and wives. 

This task, however, as might have been expected, proved too 
much for him, and was never accomplished. 

In 1810 great excitement was caused in Tiverton and the 
neighbourhood by some extraordinary proceedings at Sampford 
Peverell, a village about five miles distant from the town. The 
affair will always be wrapt in a certain amount of mystery, 
although the prevailing belief was, and still is, that it was the 
result of some conspiracy ; and suspicion points to the Rev. Mr. 
Colton, who certainly took a great interest in the matter, as the 
arch conspirator. I refer of course, to the well-known story of 
the " Sampford Ghost." The scene of the tragedy or comedy 
there seems to have been something of both was a very ordinary 
house,t having a shop and kitchen below, a single staircase, com- 
municating with the upper story, and in the latter a small ante- 
room or landing, and two rooms one leading into the other. The 

* The Corporation used to attend Church on the last Sunday in each 
month. They were preceded by three mace bearers Caleb Adams, 
William Adams (brothers) and a man called Melhuish whose livery 
was as follows : three-cocked hats, trimmed with gold lace ; long blue 
coats, also trimmed with gold lace ; red waistcoats ; dark plush breeches ; 
white stockings ; and silver-buckled shoes. The Mayor wore a scarlet 
robe ; all the rest black robes. 

f This is true, so far as the exterior and general arrangements are con- 
cerned. On the windows, however, are some curious inscriptions, cut in 
the glass. Thus over the date 1767 are the words " Oh Lord, forgive 
them for they know not what they do." On another pane the names 
" Thomas and Elizabeth Bellamy " and the date " 1795 " are engraven; 
while on a third pane is to be found the apothegm " Many estates are 
spent in the getting of sense." None of these inscriptions seems to have 
any reference to the ghost. 


manifestations took place in the two upstair rooms. At first the 
ghost, or whatever it was, visited the place by day as well as by 
night and made known its presence by sundry kickings and 
stampings very unghostlike conduct, but all the same, very 
alarming. The further particulars shall be given in the words of 
Mr. Colton. " These phenomena" he observes " continued almost 
incessantly for about five weeks, when they gradually gave place 
to others still more curious and alarming. Whatever females 
slept in either of these apartments, experienced, some of them all, 
and all of them some, of the following sensations. They were 
most dreadfully beaten, as by-standers may hear and witness; 
and I am quite certain that I have heard myself more than two 
hundred blows given in the course of a night. The blows differed 
in violence; at times they can be compared to nothing but a very 
strong man striking with all the force he is master of. with a 
closed fist on the bed. They leave a great soreness, and visible 
marks : I saw a swelling at least as big us a turkey's egg on the 
cheek of Anne Mills, a servant of Mr. Chave's. When these 
blows and noises have been most violent I have placed myself 
close to the bed, and when they were at their height, without 
changing my position, have desired one or other of the party to 
rush in with a candle kept ready lighted on the outside of the 
door for that purpose, but we could discover no cause. Every 
plan we could think of has been practised to frustrate or foil 
artifice or design. I have seen a sword, when placed in the hands 
of a woman, repeatedly and violently wrested out of them, and 
thrown with a loud noise sometimes into the middle of the room, 
and sometimes still more violently against the wall. This sword I 
have heard it take up, and with it beat the bed ; by it's shaking 
the handle in a particular manner, I have been aware of it's taking 
it up. I have placed a very large folio Greek Testament, weigh- 
ing about eight or ten pounds, on the bed : it has been repeatedly 
thrown in the centre of the room. It is a curious circumstance 
that this same Testament has been thrown with great violence 
and a loud noise from the foot to the head of the same bed, inclin- 
ing in its direction a little to the right. I have often heard the 
curtains of the bed most violently agitated, accompanied with a 
loud and almost indescribable motion of the rings. These 
curtains, to prevent their motion, were often tied up, each one of 
them in a large single knot, and in this state every curtain in that 
bed was agitated, and the knots thrown and whirled about with 
such rapidity, all at the same time, that it would have been by no 
means pleasant to have been in their vortex, or within the sphere 
of their action. I have heard, in the presence of several 
witnesses, footsteps repeatedly walking by me, and round me, 
when sitting at times by the light of one or two candles, and could 
see nothing. I have been in the act of opening a door which was 
already half open, with a candle in one hand, when a violent and 


sudden rapping was produced on the opposite side of the same 
door. I paused a moment, but while the rapping continued, I 
drew the door which was before half open, suddenly open ; not a 
second could have elapsed, yet I can swear that I could then see 
nothing ! although I had a lighted candle in my hand, nor can I 
at this moment conjecture the cause of that violent knocking. I 
have been in one or other of the two apartments that are so much 
disturbed, more than once, but particularly in the one which has a 
large modern window, when from the noises, knockings, blows on 
the bed and rattling of the curtains, I did really begin to think 
the whole chamber was falling in. Mr. Taylor, sitting on a chair 
in the same room, while I was standing close by him, observed, ' I 
thought it was sufficiently terrible last night, but this is more 
than I ever heard it.' 

" One night the two servants were so much agitated that they 
refused to sleep any longer in their apartment ; Mr. Chave per- 
mitted them, in the dead of night, to bring their bed and bed 
clothes into the room where he slept with Mrs. Chave; after 
they had been quiet about half an hour, and the light was put out, 
a large iron candlestick began to move most rapidly over the 
whole room, producing by its motion a noise exactly resembling 
the grinding of a malt-mill. Mr. Chave was in the act of ringing 
the bell, to call up the 'prentice boy, when the candlestick was 
violently thrown at his head, which it narrowly missed; but 
after striking the head of the bed, fell upon the pillow. 

" Mr. Searle, late keeper of the County Gaol, informed me of his 
intention of going to Sampford to find out the grand trick that 
was there exhibiting. He informed me, after his visit, however, 
that the blows were extremely loud and violent on the bed in 
which a single female slept (Ann Mills), even while he was sitting 
on one side of the bed and his friend on the other. The sword 
before mentioned was placed, he positively assured me, on the 
bed where a large folio Testament was placed over it, thus by its 
weight pressing down the sword ; they then resumed their 
position on each side of the bed, so as to be able to ascertain the 
slightest motion of the person who occupied it. The sword was 
in a very short space of time hurled with the greatest violence 
from the bed against the opposite wall a distance of about seven 
feet. He was quite certain the female in the bed neither moved 
hand or foot. It seems that in Mr. Searle's absence from this 
room, a few minutes, his friend struck at something and blood 
was evident on the knife, but as this circumstance took place 
without any witness, I do not consider it worthy of much atten- 

" As the following fact has been sworn to in the presence of 
Captain Jones, myself, and others, I may venture to relate it. 
Mr. Taylor deposes that in going into the room in consequence of 
the shrieks of the women, the sword that before was lying on the 


floor was clearly suspended in the centre of the room, with 
its point towards him ; he drew back and contemplated this 
wonderful object with amazement and terror, when after the 
expiration of about a minute, it fell to the ground with a loud 
noise. He also deposed to his perfect ignorance of the cause of 
the phenomenon. 

" Last Thursday night, September 13th, the family, with one 
exception, were not much disturbed, nor were they some nights 
previous to that ; but Anne Mills deposed on oath, on Friday 
morning, before Mr. Sully and myself, that she was beaten so 
violently on that night that she hesitated whether she should run 
out of bed or strike a light ; in the act of doing the latter, she 
received a very severe blow on the back, the effects of which she 
deposed were very visible, and the tinder box was forcibly 
wrenched out of her hands, and thrown into the centre of the 
room by the same agent that gave the blows. Lastly, two 
servants belonging to the place, Mary Dennis and Sally Case, in 
the presence of a Mr. Sumpter, bore witness to the folio wing very 
extraordinary occurrence : That on Sunday morning at half- 
past seven o'clock they were violently beaten while in bed ; that 
the bed in which they slept was opposite to the large modern 
window before described ; that while nothing interfered between 
them and the light but a thin sheet, they distinctly saw a large 
arm suspended over the bed, without any body attached to it. 
The possibility of such a phenomenon if it was to be seen, I have 
convinced myself of." 

An affair of such mystery was sure to attract attention on the 
part of many persons who were not disposed to accept a super- 
natural solution. Among those who attempted to get to the 
bottom of the secret was Mr. Marriot, editor of the Taunton 
Courier. In Colton's narrative we frequently meet with the 
name of a Mr. Taylor, and Marriot affirmed his belief that he, 
and no one else, was the veritable ghost. Taylor, he said, had 
studied necromancy under the " celebrated Moon," and had 
turned his knowledge to account in producing these remarkable 
effects. Taylor, however, made an affidavit before J. Govett, 
Esq., the Mayor of Tiverton, denying these allegations, and 
couched in the following terms : 

" That he never saw Mr. Moon exhibit but three times in his 
life ; that he was never in his company but twice in his life ; that 
he never was under Mr. Moon's tuition one hour. Sworn before 
me, 27th September, 1810, 

" J. GOVETT, Mayor of Tiverton." 

It would seem that the house in question had been occupied at 
an earlier date by a Mr. Bellamy, during whose tenancy it was 
believed to have been used for the purpose of secreting smuggled 
goods. " In the corner," says Mr. Colton, " of the second room, 
where strangers usually sit during the night, there is a large hole 


about two feet square and six feet deep." Commenting on this 
admission Mr. Harriot averred that it was only a part of the 
truth, that instead of there being one communication with 
the upstair rooms, as Mr. Colton had stated, there were actually 
three, a circumstance which " Mr. Chave studiously concealed 
from the numberless visitors who have been drawn by curiosity 
from all parts of the country to attend the ghostly lectures." It 
does not appear what answer Mr. Colton made to this, but on 
another point in which his case was attacked, he successfully 
maintained his ground. Mr. Marriot stated that on a visitor 
named Talley going into the inner room " he was much surprised 
to observe a man named Dodge, a cooper, sitting on the bedside 
half -concealed by the curtain." To this very damaging assertion 
Colton rejoined " Mr. Talley himself now admits he recollects he 
did not see any man half-concealed behind a curtain for the 
plainest of all possible reasons, there were no curtains to that 
bed on which he saw Mr. Dodge sitting." Marriot, however, 
went on to say " that Mr. Talley then took the precaution to 
lock all the doors ; and taking the keys with him in the servants' 
room. On the following morning Mr. Talley went into the 
chamber where Dodge was, who could not quit his room till he 
had let him out of it, he having taken the key." " This," says 
Mr. Colton, " is rather miraculous, as I shall now make it fully 
appear that the door of this identical chamber where Mr. Dodge 
slept, on that memorable night, with the apprentice boy, hath 
never had since its formation either key-hole, lock, bolt, bar, or 
anything to secure it, but a very common thumb latch, even the 
catch of which was gone." While elementary facts like this were 
disputed, it was hopeless to expect that the mystery would be ex- 
plained ; but it is now certain that the whole of these seances 
were arranged by Mr. Colton, with the help of two accomplices. 
Seeing that this was the case, his boldness in challenging enquiry 
is positively amazing. No man ever acted a part with greater 

In the appendix to his " Hypocrisy," published in 1812, he 
makes the following reference to the subject, which seems at 
first sight utterly inconsistent with his guilt and shews a con- 
summate reliance on his own skill in baffling detection : " If 
these nocturnal and diurnal visitations are the effects of a plot, 
the agents are marvellously secret and indefatigable. It has 
been going on more than three years. And if it be the result of 
human machination, there must be more than sixty persons con- 
cerned in it. Now I cannot but think it rather strange that a 
secret by which no one can possibly get anything should be so 
well kept ; particularly, when I inform the public what the news- 
papers would not, or could not acquaint them with ; namely, that 
a Reward of two hundred and fifty Pounds has been advertized for 
anyone who can give such information as may lead to a discovery. 


Nearly two years have elapsed, but no claimant has appeared. I 
myself, who have been abused as the dupe at one time, and the 
promoter of this affair at another, was the first to come forward 
with one hundred pounds, and the Mayor of Tiverton has now an 
instrument in his hands, empowering him to call on me for the 
payment of that sum, to anyone who can explain the cause of 
the phenomena. ... A gentleman who. commanded a 
company in the Hereford Militia was stationed at Sampford ; his 
curiosity was much excited, and he sat up in 'Mr. Chave's house at 
different times, thirty nights. I dined with him at Ottery 
Barracks ; his brother officers were anxious to know his opinion of 
that affair. He immediately replied, ' Mr. Colton, who sits 
opposite, has engaged to give one hundred pounds to any person 
who can discover it. If he hand me half a guinea across the 
table, I engage before you all to pay the money instead of him, 
whenever he is called upon.' I did not take his offer. A clear 
proof that neither of us thinks a discovery the most probable 
thing in the world." 

I should add that the Mr. Talley, who has been so often 
mentioned, was the individual whose military proclivities have 
already gained him a place in these pages. It seems that 
he was the owner of some property at Sampford, and 
this led him to take an official interest in the proceedings. 
Accompanied by the Eector of Sampford and several other people 
he entered the haunted house, and, striking an attitude, shouted 
" Come forth, if thou hast aught to say ? " The ghost, however, 
declined to appear. Colton, in his satire, thus alludes to the 
circumstance : 

Here blust'ring Marplots, like Glendower, bawl, 
At Sampford's vasty Pond for goblins call; 
Be not deceived, my Friends, 'tis all a Hum, 
Roar as he may, and rant, No Ghost mill come. 

In conclusion I will adduce a contemporary poem written in the 
ballad style and clearly the work of an unbeliever, though the 
name of the author has not transpired. I have omitted a word 
or two in the opening stanza for the sake of the metre. 


Old men and beldams in the street, 
Do prophesy upon it dangerously. 

Terrific Muse, whose chief delight, 
Amidst the darksome shades of night, 

When nature sinks to rest, 
Is to affright some luckless wights 
With horrid sounds and dismal sights, 

Of forms in terrors drest, 


Thee I invoke arise and sing 

The fears that from the noises spring 

Of Sampford's hellish ghost ! 
Who from some dark and dreary grave 
Starts forth to haunt the rooms of Ch - ve, 

And scare a mighty host ! * 

Altho' its sounds have long been heard, 
No ghostly form has yet appeared 

In mild or fierce array ; 
A man heroic, stout of heart, 
Has said, " Come vorth whoe'er thou art, 

If thou hast ort to zay." 

A Priest wav'd round his uprais'd hand, 
As if by force of magic wand 

Or some enchanting spell, 
And said "Declare at my command, 
If Spirit thou art or Goblin damn'd, 

With air from heaven or hell ! " 

From distant hamlets, villas, towns, 
Squires came, as well as rustic clowns, 

And wildly stared about. 
The Chancellor t sat and heard it knock 
Three hours and more by Sampf ord clock, 

And try'd to smoke it out. | 

No spectre comes, with terrors crown'd, 
But still is heard the horrid sound 

Throughout the haunted room ; 
Deluded fools I to reason blind, 
Who even startle at the wind, 

A mopstick or a broom. 

With glasses mounted on her nose, 
Each village witch and beldam goes 

With superstitious ken 
To view the Spectre's dark abode, 
And mark the room where it hath trod, 

By mortal eye unseen. 

With open mouth and staring eyes, 
In council deep these dames surmise 

Some great event at hand ! 
in labour thus a mountain stood 
With wond'rous consternation view'd 

By all throughout the land ! 

* The number of people which the superstitious tale of this imaginary 
being has collected together, may with propriety be termed a host. 

f A brave Sharpshooter, 

J This man actually sat for the above period in the room, wherin this 
supposed ghost performs his pranks, thinking, it is said, by the effluvia of 
tobacco to stifle or otherwise drive the infernal Goblin from the place 
of its abode. 


But while they trembling eye'd the rock, 
Expecting some tremendous shock, 

To light a dormouse came. 
Like them look on, ye silly fools, 
Well taught in error's mystic schools, 

And ye shall see the same ! 

Meanwhile this maxim let me prize, 
" That good may out of evil rise, " 

Its truth I doubt no more ; 
Since now oppressed with hopes and fears, 
Old women knuckle down to prayers, 

Who never pray'd before. 

Tiverton, June 9th, 1810. 

The interest excited by the Sampford Ghost had hardiy sub- 
sided when another incident, not precisely of the same kind, but 
having to do with the world of spirits, provided the people of 
Tiverton with a congenial topic of conversation. In 1814, the 
daughter of a farmer living at Landfoot was taken seriously ill, 
and at length supposed to be dead. The doctor, however, observ- 
ing certain circumstances, which made him suspect that she was 
in a trance, declined to certify that life was extinct, and after a 
fortnight she revived. She then confided to her relatives an 
account of an extraordinary vision which had happened to her, 
and requested that it might be taken down in writing and printed. 
To pacify her, her friends pretended that this had been done, but 
she disbelieved them, and after threatening to return and haunt 
them unless her wish was complied with, she expired. The 
details of the vision were so wildly extravagant, that up to the 
date of her funeral no steps were taken for carrying her injunc- 
tion into effect. While the mourners were waiting for the 
hearse and coaches, a voice was heard from the adjoining room, 
saying, " Father, it is not printed" The company were horror- 
struck, and ever afterwards Mr. Tom Taylor, who devoutly 
believed both in the vision and the ghostly warning, caused the 
former to be re-printed every seven years in accordance with 
what he understood to be his sister's command. The Eev. 
William Vowles, who made the incident the subject of a sermon 
at " Steps Meeting, " Tiverton, June 26th, 1814, was of opinion 
that the mysterious voice was due to the vagaries of a servant inaid. 

A third story relates to a somewhat earlier period J* In 1872, 
when some old manuscripts were being turned over, there was 
found a portion of an old diary kept towards the end of the last 
century, by one William Gover. Here is the story given in his 
own words and not very accurate orthography : 

" In July 21st, 1797, died an ancient gentleman in Bartow's 
Causeway, Mr. Sampson by name. He was a consell (consul) for 

The noise which has excited so much consternation no doubt pro- 
ceeds from a cause equally frivolous. 


England to Algeeres, and by some means narrowly iscaped his life 
in that county. For his service to Government he had 500 a 
year. Charitable, well disposed gentleman. Towards his latter 
end he agreed with his shurgon (surgeon), Mr. Guffett (Govett), 
after his death to lay in his bed for six dayes and nights by his 
order and desire. The above shurgon to viset him every day, to 
examine if there was any life in him, and at the expiration of six 
days and nights by his order and desire, his head was to be taken 
from his shoulders, which was done at the time desired. Then 
he was put in his coffin and buried in a plot behind his house, in 
the orchard belonging to him. He had two thorns planted 
where his grave was to be made, the one at the head and the 
other at the foot. He was received into the grave by a strange 
dissenting minister, which made a very fine prayer on that 
occasion, and sung two hymns at the grave. There was no other 
reason to be given, only mistresting the Hand of Providence for 
fear he should come to life after he was laid in his grave. P.S. 
For the certainty of this act I myself heard Mr. Martin Duns- 
ford (the historian) say he had the gentleman's head in his hand 
after it was taken off. Attested by me, William Gover." To 
this we may add that for years after Sampson was buried, his 
ghost, it is said, refused to be " laid " and his head having been 
kept by the doctors for scientific purposes, old Sampson used to 
wander headless at night in search of it. ;< 

Lastly about eighty years ago there lived " on the 
Leat," as it was then called, and near the Factory, an old man of 
the name of Jarman. The history of this individual was involved 
in some obscurity, but enough of his antecedents was known to 
make him an object of suspicion to his neighbours and the towns- 
folk generally, whilst to the juveniles he was a source of terror. 
Mothers would quiet unruly children and send them to sleep by 
the threat of " Old Jarman shall come for thee." Of what par- 
ticular crimes he had been guilty was not remembered with any 
certainty, but rumour suggested some of the blackest. At any 
rate he was said to have acquired a certain amount of wealth 
through the direct agency of the devil, who, as in the case of 
Faustus, merely stipulated that when his dupe finally undressed 
to take to his bed for the last time, he (old Nick), should have 
him, body and soul. As the poet says : 

" To these conditions both consented, 
And parted, perfectly contented." 

Now whatever old Jarman might have been, he was certainly not 
a fool, and was, therefore (so the report ran), perfectly aware 
that as long as he went to bed without entirely undressing, he 
was safe from any visit from the enemy of mankind. 

Tears rolled by, and old Jarman lived on, doing neither harm 
nor good that we wot of, but feared and avoided by his neigh- 



hours. Daily he pursued his usual avocations, and nightly did he 
retire to his rest " and thereby hangs a tale " ; for, in order to 
cheat the devil, he never took off the garment which Sir Walter 
Scott's Miss G-riselda describes as " that part o' a man's habili- 
ments, the whilk it does na become a leddy to particulareeze." 
Although the days we write of were not those of shoddy and 
cheap clothing, yet the effluxion of time brings everything to an 
end, and so it fell out that old Jarman's " unmentionables " be- 
came wofn out, and had to be replaced by new ones. These were 
brought, and the old man on retiring for the night had denuded 
himself of the old ones, and was engaged in admiring the cut and 
texture of the new, when suddenly there was an awful smell 
of brimstone, and in a moment Old Nick was at his side to claim 
the fulfilment of his bargain. 

" Half-kilTd with anger and surprise, 
4 Art come again ?' old Jarmaii cries ! " 

It was too true, but a lucky thought suggested itself" Wait a 
minute," quoth he, and taking good aim, flung his big turnip of 
a watch at the devil's head. While the latter, nonplussed by the 
blow, was whisking his tail about, Jarman seized his nether 
garment, and jumping into it, bade defiance to the enemy. After 
this episode in his history, there occurs a blank, so 

" How long he lived, how wise, how well, 

How roundly he pursued his course, 
And smoked his pipe at the " White Horse " 

Historians do not tell." 

My informant, however, says he can just remember for it was 
more than half-a-century ago a strange funeral emerging from 
a small house, near what is now known as " Pinkstone's Corner," 
followed by a gaping crowd (mostly women), this being a sample 
of their gossip : " Bless-ee a zold ez zel to Belzebub years ago, 
and than he waz ebble to build thik row of eight housen. No- 
body cude zleep in tha room way un, and they do zay az how 
there's nort but stones in the coffin and that Nick hath got the 
body o' en." 

I must now give some particulars of the Eev. C. Colton, A.M. 
Cantab. Collegii Regalis Socius, as he was wont to inscribe him- 
self in plain English, Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. 
Although he did small credit to his cloth, and was, in fact, the 
very reverse of a model clergyman, he was nevertheless a man of 
versatile talents. He wrote books, sported, gambled, and finally, 
committed suicide. He was the Curate of Prior's Portion, this 
living having been bestowed on him about the year 1805 by the 
Provost and Fellows of King's, and in ability as a preacher he far 
outshone the rest of the clergy of the town and neighbourhood. 
Consequently when it came to his turn to occupy the pulpit at St. 


Peter's, the building was always crowded, a large part of the con- 
gregation consisting of strangers who had come on purpose to 
hear him. His sermons were not marked by any peculiar 
doctrinal opinions, but they were scholarly and epigrammatic, and 
he was noted for his scathing manner of denouncing hypocrisy 
and formalism. I hare already mentioned his satire dealing with 
the former subject. It is a long and rather stilted composition, 
and by no means so well known as his prose work " Lacon." The 
latter is a series of reflections on life and morals, set out in 
paragraphs and showing profound thought as well as consider- 
able power of language. His general habits, however, were 
more those of a sportsman than a student. He lived in a small 
house on the east bank of the Exe, the approach to which lies 
through a garden in St. Peter-street. He was unmarried, and his 
household consisted of himself and a domestic, who was house- 
keeper and servant combined. One Sunday afternoon when he 
had retired to the vestry for the purpose of changing his surplice 
for the black gown in which he always preached, he was observed 
hastily to emerge, and, crossing the chancel, to leave the church 
by the little door. At first people thought he must be ill, but 
just before the conclusion of the hymn he re-appeared, and, 
mounting the pulpit, delivered his discourse. The explanation 
came out the next day. On arriving at the vestry he found that 
he had forgotten to bring his sermon, and as extempore preaching 
was not in his line, he had no alternative but to hurry home for 
it. Here, however, a new difficulty presented itself, for his 
worthy housekeeper after carefully shutting up the house had 
gone to church. But Colton was not to be foiled. He forced 
open a window, got into the house and having secured his 
manuscript, ran at the top of his speed back to the church, where 
he arrived in the nick of time. On another occasion Mr. Colton 
had his horse waiting for him at the gate as soon as service was 
over, and a servant with his gun, &c. ; for wishing to be in time 
for the game on the following morning, he thought it expedient 
to ride to Dulverton the Sunday evening. It is even said that he 
once did duty with a scarlet coat concealed under his gown, in 
order that he might be able to start for the " meet ' ' on Exmoor 
immediately after the service, but this may not be true. Again, 
one of the Rectors lent him a terrier, and as Colton did not 
return the animal within a reasonable time, a warm discussion 
ensued. The dog's name happened to be " Pomp," and as it was 
Colton's turn to preach the next Sunday, he announced with great 
gravity as his text, " Neither shall his pomp follow him." At 
length having received the gift of a living nearer London, he 
quitted Tiverton, and his subsequent career is very painful to 
read of. I have already spoken of Colton's gambling propensities. 
After his removal to his new sphere he became associated with the 
notorious gang Thirkell, Hunt, and Probert who were tried later 


on for the murder of a Mr. Ware. The latter was reputed to be 
rich, and at the time when this trio conspired against him, a sum 
for a bet was owing to him, or he had a good deal of money on his 
person. However that may be, Thirkell agreed to drive Mr. 
"Ware in his gig to Probert's, a lonely villa some ten miles or so 
from London, where gamblers held their nocturnal orgies and 
spendthrifts were often lured to their ruin. Before, however, 
they quite reached their destination, a bullet from Thirkell's 
pistol served as a quietus for Mr. Ware, and with the help of the 
two other scoundrels, the body was sunk in a pond behind the 
cottage. " Murder," it is said, " will out," and these facts having 
become known, the three gamesters were arrested and tried. 
Probert turned King's evidence, Thirkell was hanged, and Hunt 
transported for life. There is nothing whatever to connect Mr. 
Colton with this crime. Since his departure from Tiverton, he 
had plunged into the wildest excesses, and had long ago been 
compelled to sever all connection with the church, but it is pretty 
clear that he had nothing to do with this dastardly act. How- 
ever, on the apprehension of his associates he thought it safer to 
make his escape to France. Here he continued his vicious courses, 
and at last, in a fit of despair, cut his throat. The author of the 
" American in Paris," thus refers to this melancholy event : " I 
have just fallen accidentally upon the story, which everybody 
knows, of the unhappy Colton. He wrote books in recommenda- 
tion of virtue and critiques in reprobation of vice, with admirable 
talent. He was a clergyman by profession, and yet became a 
victim to this detestable passion. He subsisted by play several 
years amongst these dens of the Palais Royal, and at length fall- 
ing into irretrievable misery, ended his life here by suicide. One 
feels a sadness of heart in looking upon the scene of so horrible 
an occurrence ; one owes a tear to the error of genius, to the 
weakness of our common humanity." 

Turning aside from the tragic and portentous to comparatively 
humdrum issues the "trivial round and common task" of 
parochial life : About this time there appears to have been con- 
siderable distress among the poor. In 1811, 3,770 bushels of 
wheat were bought by the parish and sold at a reduced price to 
the needy. The cost to the ratepayers was 231 6s. 9|d. Next 
year a meeting was held in the Town Hall for expediting relief. 
The sum of .250 was subscribed, and wheat, barley, and potatoes 
were bought and sold to the poor at less than the current prices. 
In the month of July potatoes were so scarce that for a fort- 
night not a single specimen was to be seen in the market. In 
1812 it was resolved by the Turnpike Trustees to cut two new 
roads ; one to Exeter over Cherry Tree Hill, and the other to 
Bampton and Dulverton by the course of the Exe. The former 
of these roads was completed about three years later. Several of 
the main entrances to the town date from the present century. 


The approach from Rackenford formerly led past Broomfield, the 
section of road^between the Factory and Shillands having been 
adapted for the purpose as recently as 1831.* The Station-road 
was cut at the opening of the railway ; the old London- 
road is on the other side of the line.t On the 12th of May, 
1813, the inhabitants were perturbed by the appearance of a 
water-spout. This occurred during a violent thunderstorm, but 
not a drop fell from the celestial siphon, which passed immediately 
and most considerately to the north. After a while the water- 
spout broke into two parts, one of which took a north-easterly 
direction. What became of the other is not recorded. It is 
evident, however, that something happened, for in about an hour 
the Exe rose five feet and did a great deal of mischief, but this 
time Father Exe may be excused, as it was all the fault of the 
water-spout. On the 10th of January, 1814, it was rather cold. 
The thermometer was ten degrees below freezing point " in a 
warm room." On the llth there was a heavy fall of snow, 
whereby travelling- was rendered impossible for several days ; 
but, by way of compensation, on the 13th the Exe was frozen so 
hard that skating was rendered possible. The Rev. C. Colton was 
very much alive on this occasion. He caused a table and forms to 
be deposited on the ice, and sat there drinking punch with certain 
of his " pals." After this he amused a gratified public by skating 
and letting off Roman candles. On the 16th of May, preliminaries 
of peace having been signed, the poor were regaled with 2,987 Ibs. 
of meat and puddings and cider. The rejoicings processions, 
sham-fights, feastings, and other delights were kept up till the 
20th. On the 1st of July peace was proclaimed at Tiverton. The 
7th was a thanksgiving day, and marked in the evening by illumi- 
nations. On the 25th of August the first barge laden with coal 
arrived by the canal, and the price of coal was reduced, in conse- 
quence thereof, 3d. a bushel. The Grand Western Canal, how- 
ever, is a subject which must not be dismissed too lightly. The 
line was surveyed and estimates prepared in the year 1795, and, 

* At the time when the foundry was built a canal was cut from the 
Leat to Shilland's Quarry, near Broomfield, and flat-bottomed boats 
used to ply on it. There was a foot-bridge over the leat opposite the 
Worth Arms, whence a path led to Loughborough, where there was 
another foot-bridge, and thence to the old Turnpike Gate. 

f Before the cutting of the railway the appearance of the spot was 
somewhat as follows A footpath, starting from the corner of The Elms 
led through two mills to a point just opposite Zephyr Lodge, 
which stood very near where the goods' station is now. There was a 
rustic bridge over the Lowman which has been diverted from its ancient 
bed connecting Zephyr Lodge with two cottages. Trees grew in the 
street between Lowman Bridge and the houses which are approached by 
flights of steps in Gold-street, and from Lowman Bridge to the first 
house on the right in Elmore. I may add that the landing before the 
houses above mentioned shows the original height of the pavement. 


when first projected, the canal was expected to afford a valuable 
means of communication, by way of Taunton and Bridgwater, 
with the Bristol Channel. The original idea was to continue the 
excavations as far as Topsham, but it was never carried out. 
"Within its existing limits the canal has not been a success. The 
traffic has chiefly consisted in the carriage of limestone, coal, and 
culm to and from the neighbouring districts ; and the profits 
arising from it have been almost, if not entirely, absorbed by the 
repair of the banks. It is now in the hands of the Great 
Western Kailway Company. For the majority of the inhabitants 
its chief raison-cPSlre is the excellent skating it affords, but 
merely for this the construction of a canal so many miles in 
length would be undoubtedly an expensive luxury. It is 
not likely therefore, that the shareholders were much influenced 
by this consideration. On the 15th of September, 1815. six 
houses opposite the lower end of St. George's Churchyard, in St. 
Andrew's-street (besides other buildings) were destroyed by fire. 
In the previous sections I have carefully abstained from enter- 
ing into details respecting the woollen trade, from a feeling that 
I should be conveying no sort of information whatever to the 
bulk of my readers, uninstructed as they necessarily are in the 
technique of the subject. Before treating, however, of its final 
collapse it will be proper to take a brief retrospect of the vicissi- 
tudes of this industry during the eighteenth and the early part of 
the nineteenth century. Eegarded as a whole it was a period of 
decline. This is shown by the comparative state of the popula- 
tion. In 1705 the inhabitants numbered about 8,690 ; in 1811 
they had dwindled to 6,932, including the local militia, and of 
this total 1,429 were engaged in trade and manufacture. I am 
indebted for these figures to Colonel Harding, but I must confess 
that I am unable to comprehend his mode of reckoning. He 
appears to imagine that the population had decreased in this in- 
terval by about 3,000, but the only possible way of attaining this 
result, on the data which he supplies, is by adding the number of 
work-people in 1811 to the actual difference in the returns. He 
goes on to add that in 1785 the population was 7,699, and that 
consequently the diminution between that year and 1811 was 
1,200. All this, however, by the way. During the first two or 
three decades of the eighteenth century the woollen manufacture 
of Tiverton was in a highly flourishing condition, and the maximum 
of prosperity was reached about the year 1730, when fifty-six 
fulling mills were in regular employ. Duns ford, who received his 
information from persons then living, gives the following list : 


At Greenway near the turnpike-gate to Exon ... 6 
At the south-end of Westexe ... ... 6 

Nearly opposite Broad- lane ... ... 6 

Behind Palehouse - ... ... 6 

At the ducking-stool in Leat-street ... ... 6 



Near them and farthest on the north ... 2 

Cockow Mills, in the Hams ... ... 4 

In Farley village ... ... ... 1 

Near Worth -house ... ... ... 2 

In the village of Bolham ... ... 6 

Ham mills, on the river Lowman ... ... 2 

Behind the Bridewell, ditto ... ... 2 

Near Cottey-house ... ... ... 2 

Near Washfield Wear ... ... 5 

The great fire of 1731, notwithstanding the rapid rebuilding of 
the town, had no doubt a prejudicial effect on its trade ; and the 
bitter dissensions between the masters and men on the subject of 
Irish worsted were naturally detrimental to both. The intro- 
duction of Norwich stuffs in 1752 led many persons to augur the 
approach of a brighter era in the woollen manufacture. This 
prospect, however, was soon eclipsed, for in 1761 the establish- 
ment of a serge factory at Wellington drained Tiverton of a large 
number of its most efficient workers. Soon after 1789 the 
woollen trade was seriously hampered by the increased consump- 
tion of cotton articles, but in 1790 there were still 1,000 looms 
in Tiverton, 700 of which were in daily use, and 200 wool- 
combers. In 1793 a factory was opened in Westexe by Messrs. 
Heathfield, Dennis, and Co., who intended it to be used as a 
cotton mill. The design was afterwards abandoned, but the 
factory was nevertheless of great service to the town, since the 
proprietors displayed considerable energy, and in this way the ex- 
istence of the woollen manufacture on which so many depended 
for a livelihood, was protracted to the year 1815. The closing 
scene was tragic. On the 21st of March, about eight o'clock in 
the morning, whilst the workpeople were at breakfast, there was 
heard the loud report of a gun, and the news rapidly spread that 
Mr. Armitage, the managing partner, had shot himself. As an 
examination of the books revealed an unsatisfactory state of 
affairs, it was decided to wind up the concern. The stock and 
machinery were sold by auction, and the factory, in the course of 
the same year, passed into the hands of Mr. Heathcoat. The 
causes which had been mainly operative in the destruction of the 
ancient industry were two : the breaking out of the French 
Eevolution, with the consequent cessation of the Dutch trade, and 
the competition of places like Bradford. 

The Factory is such a notable feature in Tiverton that a sketch 
of its history is decidedly in place here. The first mill erected in 
this quarter of the town for fulling purposes appears to have 
stood on the ground occupied by a flour-mill, and here also, opposite 
the Ham, was the site of the Pale-house. Both these terms are 
curious. The former, which has no connection with the leg of a 
pig, is usually found in the form of a suffix (e.g. Eockingham, 
Nottingham, etc.), and the full description of the locality is 


" Brayes " or " Boyes-ham," It was formerly in the possession 
of Peter Blundell, and formed part of his bequest to the famous 
school. As regards " Pale-house," the term seems to refer to the 
outer limit in this direction of the home park of the Castle previous 
to the cutting of the leat. The original leat, now filled up, began 
at a point half-way between St. Peter's Church and the " Head 
Weir," and gained for the southern part of the Ham the name of 
" The Island." In 1677 the "Head Weir" was constructed in 
order to furnish a sufficient supply of water for several fresh 
mills, the owners of which undertook to conduct the leat to the 
earlier fabric, free of cost, in consideration of the proprietor 
abandoning his monopoly. The older part of the present 
factory was built by Messrs. Heathfield, Dennis, and Co,, in 1792, 
and was purchased by Messrs. Heathcoat, Boden, and Oliver, 
lace manufacturers, of Loughborough, in 1816. In 1822 the 
partnership was dissolved, when some of the machinery was re- 
moved to Barnstaple, and since that time the business has been 
carried on under the name of John Heathcoat and Co. In 1822 
gas works were erected and a foundry established. The latter 
has been superseded by the present foundry buildings, and from 
time to time other alterations and additions have been made. In- 
cluding all its ramifications the lace factory occupies an area of 
several acres, and on the whole the enterprise has been most suc- 
cessful. The subject does not, perhaps, lend itself very readily 
to poetic treatment, but a Devonshire bard, Mr. Hope Hume, 
has essayed the task in the following lines : 

" One mighty water -wheel, that round 

Revolves with slow and measured sound, 

And, with each revolution, weds 

Ten thousand thousand silken threads, 

Wound from a million golden reels, 

Or little flying fairy wheels, 

That buzz like bees, in sunlit rooms, 

Where keen mechanics watch their looms ; 

And galleries long, with windows wide, 

Where countless busy maids preside, 

Whose nimble fingers nurse the lace, 

That yet their bridal veil may grace : 

Such to the poet's unskill'd eye 

Shows Tiverton's great Factory." 

Dr. Smiles, in his world-famous book, " Self-Help," gives the 
following account of Mr. Heathcoat : 

" John Heathcoat was the son of a cottage farmer at Long 
Whalton, Leicestershire, where he was born in 1774. He was 
taught to read and write at the village school, but was shortly re- 
moved from it to be put apprentice to a frame smith in the 
neighbouring village. The boy soon learnt to handle tools with 
dexterity, and he acquired a minute knowledge of the parts of 


which the stocking-frame is composed, as well as of] the most 
intricate warp machine. At his leisure he studied how to intro- 
duce improvements in them, and his friend, Mr. Bazley. M.P., 
states that as early as the age of sixteen he conceived the idea 
of inventing a machine by which lace might be made similar to 
Buckingham or French lace, then all made by hand. The first 
practical improvement he succeeded in introducing was in the 
warp frame, when by means of an ingenious apparatus he succeeded 
in producing ' mitts ' of a lacy appearance ; and it was this suc- 
cess which determined him to pursue the study of mechanical lace- 
making. The stocking frame had already, in a modified form, 
been applied to the manufacture of point-net lace, in which the 
mesh was looped as in a stocking ; but the work was slight and 
frail, and therefore unsatisfactory. Many ingenious Nottingham 
mechanics had, during a long succession of years, been labouring 
at the problem of inventing a machine by which the mesh of 
threads should be twisted round each other on the formation of 
the net. Some of these men died in poverty, some were driven 
insane, and all alike failed in the object of their search. The old 
warp machine still held its ground. 

" When a little over twenty-one years of age, Mr. Heathcoat 
married and went to Nottingham in search of work. He there 
found employment as a smith and ' setter-up ' of hosiery and 
warp frames. He also continued to pursue the subject on which 
his mind had been occupied, and laboured to compass the contriv- 
ance of a twist traverse net machine. He first studied the art of 
making the Buckingham or pillow lace by hand, with the object 
of effecting the same motions by mechanical means. It was a 
long and laborious task, requiring the exercise of great persever- 
ance and no little ingenuity. His master, Elliot, described him at 
that time as plodding, patient, self-denying and taciturn ; un- 
daunted by failures and mistakes, full of resources and expedients, 
and entertaining the utmost confidence that his application of 
mechanical principles would be crowned with success. During 
this time his wife was kept in almost as great anxiety as himself. 
She well knew of his struggles and difficulties, and she even began 
to feel the pressure of poverty on her household. For while he 
was labouring at his invention he was frequently under the 
necessity of laying aside the work that brought in the weekly 
wage. Many years afterwards, when all difficulties had been 
overcome, the conversation which took place between husband 
and wife one eventful Saturday evening was vividly remembered. 
' Well, John,' said the anxious wife, looking in her husband's 
face, ' will it work ?' ' No, Anne,' was the answer, ' I have had 
to take it all to pieces again.' Though he could still speak hope- 
fully and cheerfully, his poor wife could restrain her feelings no 
longer, but sat down and cried bitterly. She had, however, only 
a few more weeks to wait for success, long laboured for and 


richly deserved, came at last, and a proud and happy man was 
John Heathcoat, when he brought home the first narrow strip of 
bobbin net made by his machine, and placed it in the hands of his 

" It is difficult to describe in words an invention so complicated 
as the bobbin-net machine. It was, indeed, a mechanical pillow 
for making lace, imitating in an ingenious manner the motions 
of the lace maker's fingers in intersecting or tying the meshes of 
the lace upon her pillows. On analysing the component parts of 
a piece of hand-made lace, Heathcoat was enabled to classify the 
threads into longitudinal and diagonal. He began his experi- 
ments by stretching common packing-threads across his room for 
a warp, and then passing the weft-threads between them by 
common plyers on the opposite side ; then, after giving them a 
sideways motion and twist, the threads were re-passed back be- 
tween the next adjoining cords, the meshes being thus tied in 
the same way as upon pillows by hand. He had then to contrive 
a mechanism that should accomplish all these nice and delicate 
movements, and to do this, cost him no small amount of bodily 
and mental toil. Long after he said ' The single difficulty of 
getting the diagonal threads to twist in the allotted space was so 
great, that, if it had now to be done, I should probably not at- 
tempt its accomplishment.' His next step was to provide thin 
metallic discs, to be used as bobbins for conducting the thread 
backwards and forwards, through the warp. These discs, being 
arranged in carrier-frames, placed on each side of the warp, were 
moved by suitable machinery, so as to conduct the threads from 
side to side in forming the lace. He eventually succeeded in 
working out his principle with extraordinary skill and success, and 
at the age of twenty-four he was enabled to secure his invention as 
a patent. 

" As in the case of nearly all inventions which have proved pro- 
ductive, Heathcoat' s rights as a patentee were disputed, and his 
claims as an inventor called in question. On the supposed invalidity 
of the patent, the lace-makers boldly adopted the bobbin-net 
machine and set the inventor at defiance. But other patents 
were taken out for alleged improvements and adaptations, and it 
was only when these new patentees fell out and went to law with 
each other that Heathcoat's rights became established. One 
lace manufacturer having brought an action against another for 
an alleged infringement of his patent, the jury brought in a ver- 
dict for the defendant, in which the judge concurred, on the 
ground that both the machines in question were infringements of 
Heathcoat's patent. It was on the occasion of this trial ' Boville 
v. Moore,' that Sir John Copley (afterwards Lord Lyndhurst), 
who was retained for the defence in the interest of Mr. Heath- 
coat, learnt to work the bobbin-net machine in order that he 
might master the details of the invention. In reading over his 


brief, he confessed that he did not understand the merits of the 
case ; but, as it seemed to him to be one of great importance, he 
offered to go down into the country forthwith and study the 
machine until he understood it, ' and then,' said he, ' I will 
defend you to the best of my ability.' He accordingly put him- 
self into that night's mail and went down to Nottingham to get 
up his case as perhaps counsel never got it up before. Next 
morning the learned sergeant placed himself in a lace-loom, and 
he did not leave it until he could deftly make a piece of bobbin- 
net with his own hands, and thoroughly understood the principle 
as well as the details of the machine. When the case came on 
for trial, the learned sergeant was enabled to work the model on 
the table with such ease and skill, and to explain the exact nature 
of the invention with such felicitous clearness as to astonish 
alike judge, jury, and spectators : and the thorough conscientious- 
ness and mastery with which he handled the case, had, no doubt, 
its influence upon the decision of the court. 

" After the trial was over, Mr. Heathcoat, on enquiry, found 
about six hundred machines at work after his patent, and he pro- 
ceeded to levy royalty upon the owners of them, which amounted 
to a large sum. But the profits realised by the manufacturers of 
lace were very great, and the use of the machines rapidly ex- 
tended, while the price of the article was reduced from five 
pounds the square yard to about five pence in the course of 
twenty-five years. During the same period the annual average re- 
turns of the lace trade have been at least four millions sterling, 
and it gives remunerative employment to about 150,000 work- 

"To return to the personal history of Mr. Heathcoat. In 1809 
we find him established as a lace manufacturer at Loughborough, 
in Leicestershire, There he carried on a prosperous business for 
several years, giving employment to a large number of operatives, 
at wages varying from 5 to 10 a week. Notwithstanding the 
great increase in the number of hands employed in lace making 
through the introduction of the new machine, it began to be 
whispered about amongst workpeople that they were superseding 
labour, and an extensive conspiracy was formed for the purpose of 
destroying them wherever found. As early as the year 1811 
disputes arose between the masters and men engaged in the 
stocking and lace trades in the south-western parts of Notting- 
hamshire and the adjacent parts of Derbyshire and Leicestershire, 
the result of which was the assembly of a mob at Sutton,in Ashfield, 
who proceeded in open day to break the stocking and lace frames of 
the manufacturers. Some of the ring-leaders having been seized and 
punished, the disaffected learnt caution, but the destruction of 
machines was nevertheless carried on secretly wherever a safe 
opportunity presented itself. As the machines were of so delicate 
a construction, that a single blow of the hammer rendered them 


useless, and as the manufacture was carried on for the most part 
in detached buildings, often in private dwellings remote from 
towns, the opportunities of destroying them were unusually easy. 
In the neighbourhood of Nottingham, which was the focus of 
turbulence, the machine breakers organised themselves in regular 
bodies, and held nocturnal meetings, at which their plans were 
arranged. Probably with the view of inspiring confidence, they 
gave out that they were under the command of a leader named 
Ludd, or General Ludd, and hence their designation of Luddites. 
Under this organisation machine-breaking was carried on with 
great vigour during the winter-of 1811, occasioning great distress 
and throwing large numbers of workpeople out of employment. 
Meanwhile the owners of frames proceeded to remove them from 
the villages and lone dwellings of the country, and brought them 
into the warehouses of the towns for their better protection. 

"Among the numerous manufacturers whose works were attacked 
by the Luddites was the inventor of the bobbin-net machine him- 
self. One bright sunny day in the summer of 1816, a body of 
rioters entered his factory at Loughborough with torches and set 
fire to it, destroying thirty-seven lace machines and above 
.10,000 worth of property. Ten of the men were apprehended 
for the felony and eight of them were executed. Mr. Heathcoat 
made a claim upon the county for compensation, and it was re- 
sisted ; but the Court of Queen's Bench decided in his favour, and 
decreed that the county must make good his loss of 10,000. The 
magistrates sought to couple with the payment of the damages 
the condition that Mr. Heathcoat should expend that money in 
the county of Leicester ; but to this he would not assent, having 
already resolved on removing his manufacture elsewhere. At 
Tiverton, in Devonshire, he found a large building which had 
been formerly used as a woollen manufactory, but the Tiverton 
cloth trade having fallen into decay, the building remained un- 
occupied, and the town itself was generally in a very poverty- 
stricken condition. Mr. Heathcoat bought the old mill, 
renovated and enlarged it, and there recommenced the manu- 
facture of lace on a larger scale than before, keeping in full work 
as many as three hundred machines, and employing a larger 
number of artisans at good wages. JS T ot only did he carry on the 
manufacture of lace, but the various branches of the business 
connected with it yard, double silk-spinning, net making, and 
finishing. He also established at Tiverton an iron foundry, and 
works for the manufacture of agricultural implements, which 
proved of great convenience to the district. It was a favourite 
idea of his that steam power was capable of being applied to 
perform all the heavy drudgery of life, and he laboured for a long 
time at the invention of a steam plough. In 1832 he so far 
completed his invention as to take out a patent for it ; and 


Heathcoat's steam plough, though it has since been superseded by 
Fowler's, was considered the best machine of the kind that had 
up to that time been invented. 

" Mr. Heathcoat was a man of great natural gifts. He 
possessed a sound understanding, quick perception, and a genius 
for business of the highest order. With these he possessed up- 
rightness, honesty, and integrity, qualities which are the true 
eulogy of human character. Himself a diligent self-educator, he 
gave ready encouragement to deserving youths in his employment, 
stimulating their talents and fostering their energies. During 
his own busy life he contrived to find time to master French and 
Italian, of which he acquired an accurate and grammatical know- 
ledge. His mind was largely stored with the result of a careful 
study of the best literature, and there were few subjects on which 
he had not formed for himself shrewd and accurate views. The 
two thousand workpeople in his employment regarded him 
almost as a father, and he carefully provided for their comfort and 
improvement. Prosperity did not spoil him as it does many ; 
nor close his heart against the claims of the poor and struggling, 
who were always sure of his sympathy and help. To provide for 
the education of the children of his work-people, he built schools 
for them at a cost of about 6,000. He was also a man of 
singularly cheerful and buoyant disposition, a favourite with men 
of all classes, and most admired and beloved by those who knew 
him best. 

"In 1831 the electors of Tiverton, of which town Mr. Heathcoat 
had proved himself so genuine a benefactor, returned him to 
represent them in Parliament, and he continued their member for 
nearly thirty years. During a great part of the time he had Lord 
Palmerston for his colleague, and the noble lord on more than one 
public occasion expressed the high regard he entertained for his 
venerable friend. On retiring from the representation in 1859, 
owing to advancing age and increasing infirmities, thirteen 
hundred of his workmen presented him with a silver inkstand and 
gold pen in token of their esteem. He enjoyed his leisure only 
two more years, dying in January, 1861, at the age of seventy- 
seven, and leaving behind a character for probity, virtue, manli- 
ness, and mechanical genius, of which his descendants may well be 

On the 18th of April, 1816, there was a fire in St. Andrew- 
street, and five houses were destroyed. During this year agricul- 
ture was in a very depressed condition. Oats sold at Is. 9d., and 
barley at 2s. 9d. per bushel. The price of beef and mutton was 
3d. per lb., and in February some wheat was sacrificed at 3s. 6d. a 
bushel. On the 17th of January, 1 817, the Exe surpassed itself. 
In November the death of the Princess Charlotte was announced, 
and on the 19th, the day of her funeral, a service was held in St. 
Peter's Church at a quarter to seven p.m. The sermon was preached 


by the Rev. Perry Dicken. In 1818 arrangements were made for 
widening and repairing Exe-bridge. The cost of the undertaking 
was 700, of which 300 was to be paid by the parish, 200 by 
the Exe-bridge trust, while the remaining 200 was to be raised 
by subscription. Mr. Folletb, the oldest feoffee of the Exe-bridge 
trust, laid the first stone in March. Towards the end of the 
year the trees adorning the east and west sides of St. Peter's 
Churchyard, as also those in St. George's, were planted by Mr. 
Turner, one of the churchwardens. In 1819, at a vestry meeting, 
it was resolved to repair and re-seat Sfc. Peter's. The restoration, 
which occupied two years in effecting, cost nearly 2,000, the 
amount being raised by the sale of some church lands and two 
church-rates. With the exception of the pews belonging to the 
Lords of the Manor, which were renovated in 1826, all the ancient 
and dilapidated seats now came down, and the floor having been 
levelled, new seats of wainscoat oak were erected on a uniform 
plan. In the course of these alterations the remains of several 
persons who had been buried in the church were sacrilegiously ex- 
posed to view. Among others the body of Mary Hall, who had 
died in 1727, at the age of 72, was discovered in a state of good 
preservation ; and her hair, auburn in hue, was ascertained to be 
twenty-two inches long. On the supposed site of the Earl of 
Devon's chapel, a leaden coffin, about four feet in length, was 
opened and found to contain a perfect skeleton, which, however, 
on exposure to the air, immediately fell to pieces. On the re- 
moval of the panelling near the vestry door some wall paintings 
were uncovered. The restorers, not appreciating this form of art, 
and possibly regarding it as Popish, caused them to be ruthlessly 
plastered over. 

On the 1st of May, 1820, a prodigious pig, weighing 1,456 Ibs., 
was shown at Tiverton. Probably the heaviest man ever seen 
in Tiverton was one Snook. He was the landlord of the 
Ship Inn in Bampton-street, and is said to have scaled 21 stone. 
The smallest man of whom 1 have heard mention was an 
individual named Tarr. He was boots at the Palmerston, 
and measured about three feet in height. Another lusus 
natures was " little Jemmy Bagster." I do not know what 
his precise dimensions may have been, but he could accom- 
modate himself very easily in a child's chair ; in fact, being a 
cripple, he was accustomed to propel one through the streets by 
wriggling first on one side and then on the other. He was an 
umbrella-mender by trade, and very fond of playing skittles. On 
one occasion he had the misfortune to lose a halfpenny over 
some game of chance, and the winner, observing his chagrin, 
offered to restore the money. To his surprise Bagster regarded 
the suggestion as an insult, and replied loftily " Tich my honour, 
tich my 'eart." Bagster, being a native of Exeter, and in receipt 
of parish pay, used to visit the county town every quarter day, 


and in order to travel thither more expeditiously, drove a 
four-in-hand ! Harnessing four dogs to a light vehicle, and 
seating himself in the latter, he performed the distance between 
Tiverton and Exeter with as much comfort, perhaps, as some of 
his betters. Very unluckily for him, a rumour of his luxurious 
habits reached the ears of the Governor and Guardians of the 
Poor, who decided that the driver of a four-in-hand was not a 
suitable recipient of parish pay. I may remark par parenfhese 
that it was not an uncommon practice in those days to employ 
dogs as draught animals. The dogs, so used, were generally of a 
large breed, and their services were commonly required for the 
transport of light wares, so that the practice, though now 
illegal, did not quite constitute a case of cruelty to animals. 
One instance, however, has been mentioned to me, in which this 
rule was transgressed, with rather unpleasant consequences to the 
transgressor. It seems that a worthy lady had set out for Cul- 
lompton Fair with a load of boots in a cart drawn by sundry 
members of the canine species. After a while, finding the journey 
somewhat toilsome, she quietly mounted the cart, and, oblivious 
of the torture she inflicted on the devoted dogs, rode on quite 
contentedly, until one of the wheels came in contact with a 
wooden post, and she found herself sprawling in the road. 

w<i airokono Kal aXXov, ocms -roiavta <ye /3eot. 

I cannot find any reference to dramatic performances at 
Tiverton previous to the year 1709. On p. 303 of Dunsford's 
History is a footnote stating that a large barn near the Castle 
had been frequently used as a temporary theatre. Many com- 
panies, he says, had exercised their talents in it, but none were 
such general favourites as a family named Biggs. Mr. Biggs, 
senior, acted as manager, his son was an accomplished comedian, 
and of his daughter it is averred that " in every character she 
shewed abilities that would have honoured a much better stage." 
On the company leaving Tiverton in September, 1790, Mr. 
Stephens, in the name of Mr. Biggs, recited an epilogue, com- 
posed for the occasion, in which were the following lines : 

Yes, happy spot ! in thy calm breast unite 
All that delights the soul or charms the sight. 
Here Beauty sits : the everlasting queen 
Reigns, in her varied shape, through every scene. 
See, to her aid each kindred goddess flies, 
Rests on this spot, descending from the skies. 
See, Flora brings enamell'd meads of flowr's, 
Whilst Ceres in your lap her bounty pours. 
See ros'd-lip Hebe ride on ev'ry gale, 
Imparting health and youth throughout the vale ; 
And here 'tis here that Hebe's charms divine 
In female excellence unequall'd shine. 
Such is this spot, which fate has giv'n to you ; 
Such is the spot to which we bid adieu. 


Tiverton, however, was destined to possess for a number of years 
a regular theatre of its own. 

In speaking of the rise of Nonconformity in Tiverton I had 
occasion to refer to a Unitarian Chapel in St. Peter-street which 
was converted ahout the year 1820 into a theatre. The agree- 
ment between the manager, Mr. Henry Lee, and the lessor was 
that the former should 'rent iff or a few months in the winter, while 
the owner should retain possession of it during the remainder of 
the year, and devote it to any object he pleased. Mr. Lee was 
already the occasional, arid probably the only, tenant of the 
theatres of Taunton, Bridport, Dorchester, and other towns, 
where he and his company were usually received with much 
favour. In his early days he is said at the Gloucester Theatre to 
have played Falstaff to Kean's " Prince Hal," a thing which he 
could do without padding, being even then remarkable for his 
corpulence. He wrote a play entitled " Caleb Quotum," which, 
through the friendship of Kean or Garrick, was placed on the 
London boards. It fell flat, however, and was soon withdrawn. 
Ill luck seems to have been usual with Lee. Once when he and 
his company paid their customary visit to the town, he was 
arrested for debt and consigned to the "Debtors' Prison," a wretched 
den under the old Town Hall. This place is stated to have been 
worse than a " condemned cell " at Newgate a dark, damp 
dungeon, infested with insects. As a special favour, and through 
the interest of the late Mr. George Barne, Lee was allowed out 
for an hour at a ti me on his parole, when he might have been 
seen pacing to and fro before the Old Bank. Previous to the 
chapel being used by the company, it underwent an entire trans- 
formation, and was thoroughly fitted up as a theatre with pit, 
boxes, orchestra, gallery, dressing-rooms, stage, and every neces- 
sary convenience for the production of stage plays. Lee was 
well supported by his wife, and several daughters, the eldest of 
whom always took the leading parts and did so creditably. After 
a few years the management fell into the hands of a Mr. Davis, 
but the Lee family (minus the old gentleman who was seen no more) 
still formed part of the company on their occasional three 
months' visits to the town. Among other members of the com- 
pany was a decayed gentleman named Heathcote, of whose ante- 
cedents little was known, except that he had been reduced 
from comparative affluence to seek a livelihood on the stage. 
Whilst with the company at Tiverton he conceived and executed 
the design of making the siege of Tiverton Castle and certain 
exciting incidents connected therewith the subject of a three-act 
play. In furtherance of this object, and to render the piece more 
attractive, the late Mr. Elford Reed, a local artist of great skill 
in painting, produced a " drop scene " representing the town, 
castle, and church as they appeared at the time of the siege. At 
length the night of the first performance arrived. As may be 


supposed, the house was crammed, and the author on being called 
before the audience at the close, received a well-deserved ovation. 
It was played, of course, a few times more, and several hundred 
copies of the piece were sold, but as it was never put on any 
other provincial stage, it is to be feared that the author reaped 
but small advantage from his work. 

About this time a Major Johnson came to reside in Tiverton. 
He was an Irishman and a major on the retired list. On each 
visit of Mr. Davis' company to the town the gallant major, when- 
ever the role of an Irishman had to be played, offered his services 
to the manager, and not unfrequently would sing a comic song 
between the play and the farce, which in those days always came 
after the four or five-act piece. Although he was an amateur 
only, his appearance on the boards always elicited rounds of 
applause, as he seemed " to the manner born." Mr. Davis, with a 
generous wish to cater for the entertainment of his patrons, en- 
gaged, at an expense he was not justified in incurring, London 
" stars." Among these was Mrs. Nisbet and her sister ; the 
former was to take the leading parts for the two nights of her en- 
gagement, while the latter was to perform as singer and danseuse. 
An amusing incident occurred while the latter was singing one of 
her songs. The subject was love, and it had a chorus with the 
words " Why don't the men propose ?" This, pronounced with 
emphasis, the stamping of a little foot, and an appealing look to 
the boxes, was irresistible ; and to the consternation of the audi- 
ence, a young fellow who had been dining, suddenly sprang from 

his seat, and saying, " D d if I don't propose" rushed behind 

the scenes. Some noise and confusion followed, and he was 
quietly escorted to the Angel Hotel, where he was staying as a com- 
mercial, and told to "pop the question" the next day. On 
another occasion the renowned Sliss Foote was had down from 
London to play three nights for 15 a night as " a very great 
favour " to the manager. Her three parts were " Portia," 
" Rosalind," and " Lady Macbeth," but although the prices were 
doubled and no half-prices allowed, her visit failed as a financial 
speculation. During the Christmas holidays it was usual to put 
" George Barnwell" on the stage. On one occasion the leading 
lady was unable from some cause to take her part, and a substi- 
tute had to be found at the last hour. Will it be believed that 
the part of the fascinating and beautiful, bufc worthless, courtesan 
Millwood was taken by old Mrs. Lee, a dame of seventy summers, 
who usually took such parts as " Meg Merrilies," " Hecate," etc. ; 
and her own son appeared as '' Barnwell " ? The building was 
pulled down in 1844, and since then Tiverton has had no theatre 
properly so called, the Athenaeum first, then the Heathcoat 
Hall and Drill Hall doing duty instead. 

My readers will, no doubt, be pleased to see a specimen of the 
old play bills. 




American Captain Mr. Dighton. 

Young Merry Master Davis. 

John ... Mr. SMITH. 

American Soldier Mr. BALSON. 



On WEDNESDAY EVENING, JANUARY 21st, 1835, will be presented the Grand 
Nautical Drama called THE 

T I L O T , 

A Tale of the Sea, 

(Of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane). 

This admirable Drama is founded on the well known Tale of THE PnJOT, written 
by Mr Cooper, the American Novelist, and was performed upwards of Two Hundred 
Nights on its first production. The Tale posseses considerable spirit, energy, bold- 
ness of character, and colouring, that mark an original Genius. The highly wrought 
Character of Long Tom Coffin is a theme of universal admiration : the deep-toned 
Passion and Romance of his Nature, blended as it is with his rich Nautical Humour 
and Phraseology, complete the Picture of a Sailor, which every one pronounces 
perfect. The half-Yankee, half-Cockney, Capt. Boroughcliffe, a Gallimaufry of 
Amorousness, Cowardice, and Military Swagger, and his attendant Sergeant Drill, 
are very entertaining personages ; and;such is the deep interest and humour attached 
to the whole Tale, both in character and subject, that all concur in awarding it 
unqualified praise. 

The Pilot Mr. HERBERT LEE, 

Barnstable Mr. CHAPMAN. - 

Colonel Howard ... Mr. BISHOP 
Capt. Boroughclifle (a { M WEBB 

regular Yankee) \ mr ' w 
Sergeant Drill ... Mr. SENNETT. 
And Long Tom Cof&n(every inch a Sailor) 

Mr. DAVIS, who will introduce a Yarn entitled 


Cecilia (with a Song) ... Mrs. DA VIS. | Irish Pedlar Woman ... Miss BROWNE 

And Kate Plowden ... Mrs. SENNETT. 

SUCCESSION OF SCENERY, &c. The Ocean off the American Coast. Ship & 
Schooner sailing in the distance. Room at Col. Howard's. Another apartment of 
the Colonel's. Through the Balcony is perceived 



Room at Col. Howard's. Song by Boroughcliffe, ' YANKEE DOODLE." 
Guard House. Pilot and Griffith rescued by Long Tom Coffin disguised as an Irish- 
woman. Kate Ploughman's Apartments. She corresponds with Barnstable by 
Signals from the Balcony. 


By Mr. DAVIS, and Mr. SENNETT, as Long Tom, and Sergeant Drill. 

DECK OF THE ARIEL. Long Tom narrowly saved from drowning, half 

mad with exhaustion and excitement, gives a fearful description of an imaginary 

Storm. State Room at the Colonel's. Barnstable condemned to death. The 

Pilot's mysterious interview with the Colonel in his behalf.- QUARTER DECK 

OF THE ALACRITY. -Barnstable on the eve of Execution. Long Tom's noble 

intercession. Arrival of the Ariel. General Attack. The American strikes. 

British Flag triumphant. And the Curtain descends to the air of "RULE 


A much admired GLEE, called. " Hark, Apollo strikes the Lyre." 

By Mr. & Mrs. DAVIS, and Mr. BISHOFF. 
' My Grandfather was a wonderful Man " by Mr. CHAPMAN. 

The whole to conclude with a NEW FARCE (now performing at the Theatre 
Royal, Drury Lane,) called 



Mr. Peter Pringle ... Mr. OSBORNE. Mr. John Brush ... Mr. DAVIS. 
Timothy ... Mr. CHAPMAN. Charles Robin, .. Mr. BISHOFF 

Henry Robinson ... Mr. DODSWORTH. 

Billy Robinson ... Master DAVIS. Tommy Robinson ... Master SINNETT 

Clarence Robinson ... Miss GROVE. Mrs. Bustle ... Miss BROWNE 

Kitty ... Mrs. DAVIS. And Mrs. Pringle ... Mrs. SINNETT. 

Boxes, 2s. 6d. Pitt, 2s. Gallery, Is. Second Account at half past Eight. 
Boxes, 2s. Pit, Is. 6d. 

Half Price to the Box, Pit and Gallery, at Nine o'clock. Doors to be opened at 
Six, and begin at Seven o'clock. 

Tickets to be had of Mr. SALTER, Printer, and at the usual Places. Season 
Tickets to be had of Mr. Herbert LEE. 

*** No Admittance behind the Scenes. 
The Grand Melo Drama of " The BRIGAND," also, " The WRECK ASHORE " 

are in active Preparation. 
Stage Manager, Mr, OSBORNE. 


The most notable event in 1821 was the celebration of the 
coronation of George IV. In addition to the usual procession of 
the clubs, the richer inhabitants took part in their carriages, and 
the trades were represented by craftsmen at their employment. 
Britannia was there in all her glory in the person of the tallest 
woman in Tiverton, a Mrs. Banbury. The Town Band and the 
inevitable drums and fifes were also conspicuous, as were also the 
charity boys and girls and a number of young women, two and 
two, in ribbons and white frocks. Interest, however, was chiefly 
centred on the " Herald," whose tabard, gorgeous dress, and gold 
laced head-covering was a sight to behold. This important 
official was represented by Mr. Collard, a much respected hatter of 
Fore-street. He possessed a portly person and a sonorous voice 
which was well adapted to his office of reading the proclamation 
in various parts of the town. A liveried page on each side of his 
caparisoned charger added to the imposing effect. The next 
loyal celebration was on the occasion of the coronation of King 
William and Queen Adelaide, when Mr. Collard again acted as 
" Herald," and Mrs. Banbury mounted once more a milk-white 
steed, and, as before, was attended by a boy page on each side. 
At the coronation of Queen Victoria Mr. Collard was no longer 
visible in the procession, his increasing age rendering his voice 
unequal to the strain of reading the "Herald's" proclamation. His 
place was filled by Mr. Quick, the then master of the Boys' Blue- 
coat School. The loyalty of the inhabitants of Tiverton was 
again shown on the marriage of the Queen with Prince Albert. 
Once more the shops were closed, the bells rang out, there were 
public dinners, and oceans of wine and beer accompanied the 
loyal toasts on the joyous occasion. The poor were not forgot- 
ten, and even the inmates of the workhouse participated in the 
good things which were freely supplied to them. To return, 
however, to the coronation of George IV. Colonel Harding 
states that though the bells rang, there was little rejoicing 
among the lower orders, who reserved " all demonstrations of 
loyalty to the 21st of August following, the day of Queen 
Caroline's funeral, when much display was made by the different 
societies in Tiverton, and some rioting and confusion was the con- 
sequence." This is hardly in agreement with the account pre- 
viously given, which has been furnished by an eye-witness, and 
which I have every reason to believe correct ; but there is no 
doubt that there was a considerable amount of discontent in the 
place, and that it did not wait till the 21st of August to break 
out. The date of the coronation, I should say, was July 19th, 
and some of the more convivial of the inhabitants resolved to 
have a luncheon, or, as Harding calls it, " a cold collation," in 
the School Green. The charge was 3s. 6d. per head, and about 
three hundred people took part. Now there happened to be at 
this time a good many Jacobins, or as we should now describe them, 


Radicals, in the town, who themselves held aloof from the 
festivities and were not content that their neighbours should 
enjoy themselves. While, therefore, the more loyal Tivertonians 
were making their post-prandial speeches and regaling each other 
with song, the envious " Rads.," larking in secret places, deter- 
mined to pay them out. As may be easily imagined, on an occa- 
sion of this sort the joyous citizens put aside all suspicion and 
made full use of the " flowing bowl." Consequently they were 
hardly in a condition to defend themselves, when, on emerging 
late in the evening from the School gates, they found they had to 
run the gauntlet of their political opponents drawn up in battle 
array. As they came out, one after another, they were seized 
and hustled about, and when at length they were released, pre- 
sented a pitiable spectacle hatless, with torn coats, and bleeding 
heads. There were no police in those days, and the two or three 
constables, who were the sole representatives of order, were 
powerless to interfere. 

Very few events of any interest occurred at Tiverton during the 
reign of George IV. In August, 1822, the foundation stone of 
Pitt Parsonage in St. Andrew-street was laid under the direc- 
tion of the Rector, the Rev. J. Spurway. About this time also 
Mr. GK Cosway rented a small factory in Westexe, where for 
many years he carried on a successful trade in blankets. In 1823 
there was a contest between the clergy and the parishioners 
respecting the right of the former to appoint one of the church- 
wardens. Harding seems to imply that the clergy had usage on 
their side, but a reference to Dunsford will shew that this was not 
the case. The privilege of electing churchwardens, indeed, had 
long been the subject of a triangular duel between the parish- 
ioners, the clergy, and the Corporation ; and the older historian in 
his notes invariably alludes to any interference on the part of the 
two latter as an aggression. Here are his instances : 

" 1675. Thomas Keene, Zachary .Bidgood. This year the 
members of the Corporation claimed the right of electing church- 
warden (sic) for the town of Tiverton, and nominated Wm. 
Powell to that office. They were resisted by the parishioners at 
large, who elected Thomas Keene. The matter was carried into 
the Bishop's court at Exon, which determined the right of elec- 
tion to belong to all the parishioners paying scot and lot, by the 
majority of those assembled ; and that the claim of the Corpora- 
tion was usurped and contrary to law. Mr. Keene was conse- 
quently returned and sworn into office." 

" 1771. William Jenkins, Hugh Sweatland. The election of 
Hugh Sweatland was the first instance of the clergy of this parish 
interfering in the choice of churchwardens ; and they then 
nominated Mr. Sweatland." 

" 1782. George Dunsford, Nicholas Dennys. The ministers 
again interfered, and nominated Mr. Dennys to the office of 


" 1784. Martin Dunsford, George Besley. This year the 
members of the Corporation interfered, and employed the influence 
of that body, in concert with those landowners who had begun 
the suit at law in the Inquisitional Court at Exon, to hare one of 
their adherents chosen churchwarden. They were opposed by 
the parishioners in general, paying scot and lot, that is, towards 
the parochial rates and taxes, who nominated Mr. Dunsford. The 
greater part of the ratepayers in the parish were polled regularly, 
and Mr. Dunsford was returned duly elected by the majority of 60 
to 36. It is supposed that more than 3,500 people were collected 
in the church house and yard on this occasion." 

" 1785. Martin Dunsford, Eobert Wright. This year the 
clergy again interfered, and nominated George Besley for church- 
warden. The parishioners opposed their claim, and nominated 
Eobert Wright for the country. Caveats were entered by each 
party in the Ecclesiastical Court against the nomination of the 
other, so that Mr. Dunsford was the sole warden sworn at the 
visitation. Both the others were sworn a few weeks after at the 
Bishop's Court in Exon, by a mandamus from the Court of King's 
Bench. The cause was not litigated further at this time, but Mr. 
Wright received and paid monies officially, and was esteemed the 
only warden for the country by the parishioners, who objected 
at the time of the election against any nomination of the clergy 
exclusively, because contrary to custom immemorial, and at a 
future (sic) vestry meeting impowered their attorney legally to 
support the choice of the parishioners." 

" 1786. Martin Dunsford, Nathaniel Cook. This year the 
churchwardens were elected by the parishioners unanimously. 
Two of the minister* of the church objected to the election, 
because they had not the exclusive nomination of either ; and 
entered a protest against it on the vestry journal, but did not 
think proper to nominate any other person, or legally oppose the 
election, at this time, nor have they attempted it since." 

The fact is that at Tiverton the rules for the election of 
churchwardens were somewhat complicated. The practice was, 
and is, that one should represent the country and the other the 
town, but down to the year 1789 there was a further limitation 
as the wardens had to be chosen from each of the four quarters, 
Pitt, Clare, Tidcombe, and Prior's, in rotation. Revenons a nog 
moutons. In the year 1823 the clergy nominated George Barne, 
Esq., the parishioners Mr. Joseph Chilcott and Mr. James 
Munday. A caveat was at once entered against any other 
appointment than the last, and formidable preparations were 
made for the legal enforcement of the claim. The clergy, how- 
ever, were not disposed to go to law on the subject and the elec- 
tion of both wardens has remained ever since in the hands of the 

On the 16th of September, 1823, on the occasion of Mr. 


Heathcoat's return from France, his employees got up an ovation 
a compliment which Mr. Heathcoat re-paid by giving his work- 
people, to the number of sixteen hundred, a dinner in the factory- 
yard. The menu appears to have included beef, mutton, pork, 
baked and boiled puddings, beer, ale, and cider, and the provision 
was no doubt thoroughly enjoyed. The feasters then formed a 
procession and perambulated the town with flags, bands, &c. It 
is pleasing to add, there were no " rows." In an old Exeter 
paper dated April 4, 1824, I find the following account of a 
tragedy, which, though nearly seventy years have elapsed, is still 
remembered by old inhabitants : " A frightful accident occurred 
at Tiverton in the afternoon of Monday last. Several boys and 
lads had ascended the tower of St. Peter's Church and in the 
midst of their holiday gambols one of them (a fine boy, 9 years of 
age, son of Mr. Perharn, brick-maker), leaning over the battle- 
ments, over-balanced himself, and dreadful to relate, fell to the 
ground, a height of above one hundred feet. The poor fellow, it 
is needless to say, was killed on the spot. The body presented a 
most distressing spectacle, being full of dislocations and bruises." 
A tombstone was erected to the memory of the unfortunate boy 
in St. George's churchyard against the east wall of the church. 
At a meeting on the 28th of November, 1825, it was decided to 
remove a house belonging to a Mr. Bryant close to the Town 
Hall, and to throw the space covered by it into St. George's 
churchyard. A question having been raised as to whether the 
rectors or parishioners had the disposal of the ground, towards 
the close of the year counsel's opinion was taken on the subject. 
The verdict was in favour of the parishioners, who proceeded to 
demonstrate their victory by having vaults made of two sizes and 
letting them, the larger for ten and the smaller for eight guineas. 
The ground thus added remained unconsecrated till 1886. In 
1829 the churchyard was enlarged still further by the inclusion 
of a garden to the south of the chapel, the interior of which had 
undergone various alterations especially the singing loft, in 1826. 
The Mr. Bryant,whose name I have mentioned, was a "character." 
"Argus," in one of his Whipshire papers, gives the following 
account of him : "A portion of the present graveyard of St. 
George's Church, adjoining what is now Mrs. Bond's shop, was 
the site of a house and shop occupied by a very worthy and re- 
spected, but most eccentric tradesman, named Bryant, described 
by his contemporaries as ' Old Franky the Saddler,' for such was 
his trade and occupation. He had many apprentices all out-door 
boys, and these were expected, as all such were in those days, to 
be at the shop at 6 a.m. sharp. Now Franky Bryant had carried 
on his business with credit to himself and probably with satisfac- 
tion to his customers, for half-a-century or more, and felt a 
natural wish to indulge a little in the morning, especially in the 
winter, and, therefore, felt it a hardship to dress and let in his 


apprentices at that early hour, so a happy thought was evolved 
from his fertile brain. Outside his bedroom window and just 
over the shop he affixed a box on the principle of a pigeon-trap, 
in which, on retiring to his virtuous couch, he deposited the key 
of the shop door with a string depending from it long enough to 
reach the ground. As soon as he heard a certain apprentice's 
knock in the morning, he would jump out of bed, and letting 
down the string, retire to bed again. A slight pull at this would 
cause the box to open and drop the key. After a time, however, 
he adopted the plan of dropping the string when going to bed, 
and this becoming known to certain practical jokers, he found one 
morning that during the night his premises had been entered, and 
though nothing was missing, his stock-in-trade was in the wildest 
confusion, and the contents of his larder cleared, together with 
some choice old wine on which he prided himself. 

" It was, however, for his idiosyncrasies and marvellous 
delusions that he became so widely known. That he sincerely 
believed all he told, no one doubted, but 

' In his brain, 

Which, was as dry as the remainder biscuit 
After a voyage, he had strange places cramm'd 
With observations, the which he vented 
In mangled forms.' 

" Numberless were the wonderful things he had seen and done, 
scarcely exceeded by those of Baron Munchausen himself. I will not 
intrude on your space with more than one or two of these. He had 
a gun with a bent barrel, which, he said, was an invention of his 
own for the purpose of ' shooting round the corners,' and that 
on one occasion standing at one side of a corn rick he had 
brought. down 40 birds at one shot ! A more amusing assertion, 
however, was made by him in the writer's presence on the occa- 
sion of a balloon ascent from the Cathedral-yard, Exeter, about 
the year 1825, by Mr. Green, the then celebrated aeronaut, who 
was accompanied by a gentleman of the name of Cuthum. A 
number of Tiverton people, myself among them, went to a field 
on the summit of ' Seven Crosses,' from whence it was surmised 
a sight of the balloon could be had if the wind should be blowing 
in that direction ; nor were we disappointed, for it soon became 
plainly visible to the naked eye, and a good telescope might 
even discern the car with its occupants. ' Franky,' of course, 
was there with a telescope which, as he assured us, was superior 
to any before invented. Addressing the late Mr. Wotton, the 
attorney (who also had a glass in his hand), he said, ' Do you 
know, sir, that with my glass I could bring the object near enough 
to see the car and those within it, and even to hear what they 
said?' 'Indeed,' said Mr. W., 'and what did they say?' 
' Oh,' said Franky, ' one said to the other, ' See yonder field 
near Tiverton, what a number of people are gazing at us.' 


Farewell, Baron Munchausen, with thy harmless and amusing 
stories ! Well do I remember thee on one Sunday morning as 1 
walked behind thee, and saw thee telling some marvellous tale to 
the late Henry Dunsford, the banker, on the way to church." 

Lastly, I may refer to some local superstitions which prevailed 
about this time. Near Ashley lived an ancient lady, generally 
known as " Old Dame Beck." She wore high-heeled shoes with 
buckles, and, as she was reputed a witch, people were afraid of her. 
The neighbourhood was supposed also to afford two magic springs. 
In a field near the Hobby Horse Mills was a very small pool about 
the size of a man's hand, and about knee-deep. The water of this 
pool was thought to be medicinal, and credulous persons went with 
their bottles to procure a supply. It was afterwards proved, on 
the diversion of the Lowman, that the water came from the river, 
having soaked through the interjacent gravel. A similar instance 
was to be found in Dunswell Copse, situated at the base of the hill 
near the Park, but on the other side of the road. Here was a 
large square pond, and patients resorted to it for washing their bad 
legs. The virtue, however, quickly departed from this pond, when 
it was shewn that the water was derived from the Town Lake, a 
portion of which had been used for irrigating the Park. The 
following cure for the King's Evil is said to have been successfully 
applied to a boy, who is still alive to tell the tale. He paid a visib 
to a man named Marley, of Oakford, who was the seventh son of a 
seventh son. The latter gave him a small box of ointment, and 
told him bo dip a pin's head in it and strike the wound nine times 
each way. He was then to catch a toad, cut off one of its hind 
legs, put the leg in a calico bag, tie the bag up to the wound, and 
let the toad go away alive ; and as the toad died, the wound would 
heal. Another interesting recipe is the following : " Take a 
one-ounce stone, put it in a quart of water, place in first blood- 
stained rag in the bottle, stop it down with lead, turn it every 
morning, and eay the Lord's prayer : and this will cure a cut." 





UNTIL the year 1830 the markets at Tiverton were held 
in the streets. Hints to this effect occur in earlier 
pages of this work, but as it is not certain what 
arrangements were made in former times for all depart- 
ments of trade, it will be convenient to state at this 
point the condition of affairs immediately preceding the erection of 
the new market-place. This information has been given me by 
an old inhabitant of the town, Mr. William Davey, to whom I am 
indebted for a good deal of quaint gossip concerning a past 
generation, some of which has been incorporated in this 
work. The earthenware market was held in Bampton- 
street between the Boar's Head Inn and the National 
Provincial Bank. Planks were laid across the gutters, and on 
the planks the vendors placed their wares. For the clothiers, 
temporary stalls were erected between the market gates in 
Bampton-street and the Corn Market, and traders came from 
Frome, selling broad-cloth. The pig market was in front of the 
Boar's Head Inn ; hence the sign. The sheep market was in the 
"Works," the bullock market in Newport-street. Angel-hill 
has been considerably lowered near the Congregational Chapel, 
where the pathway was called " the Steps." Between the Steps 
and the road was a vacant plot, and here the potato market was 
held. The bags containing the potatoes were rested against a 
number of permanent posts. The meat market was held in Fore- 
street. Every week temporary stalls were carried on men's 
shoulders from Back-way and arranged in two rows from St. 
George's Church to the middle of the street. From this point as 
far as Bampton-street was the poultry and butter market. The 
market weights were placed before the shop now occupied by 


Mr. Strawson. Two uprights were driven into the ground as a 
support for the scales ; and near them was a kind of sentry-box, 
where a man in livery gave out tickets certifying the weight of 
the commodities. The Tiverton livery was a gold-laced hat, a 
red cloth waistcoat, a blue coat trimmed with gold lace, and 
kerseymere breeches and leggings. 

About 1825 people became sensible that these primitive arrange- 
ments were not the most convenient that might be devised, and 
at a public meeting of the inhabitants it was resolved to apply 
for an Act of Parliament authorising a change. A Bill entitled 
" An Act for removing the markets held within the town of 
Tiverton and providing a market-place within the said town, and 
regulating and maintaining the said markets," received the Royal 
assent on the 10th of June, 1825 ; and on the 6th of July fol- 
lowing a meeting was held of the persons empowered to carry it 
into effect. It does not appear, however, that any steps were 
taken for this purpose until the spring of 1829, when another 
meeting was convened, and measures were adopted for purchasing 
various properties in the middle of the town, part of which had 
formed the site of the old Bowling Green. The total cost of the 
undertaking was 8,392. This was covered by 50 shares, one 
of which was to be paid every year with interest, until the whole 
of the borrowed capital was liquidated. After that the proceeds 
of the market were to be devoted to the use of the Market 
Trust. Yearly sums of 218 15s. and 31 5s. were also payable 
as equivalents for the old tolls which, as we have seen, had been 
given many centuries before to the poor. The part of the 
market assigned to butchers, poultry-dealers, and gardeners, was 
opened on the 8th of June, 1830; the cattle market on the 14th 
of June, 1831. 

In 1876 the buildings were in a very bad state, and were prac- 
tically re-built, at a cost of about 2,000. This was probably 
a necessity, as the Trustees seem at no time to have had a 
superfluity of funds. In 1888 they were threatened with a 
Chancery suit in vindication of the claims of creditors from whom 
money had been borrowed to build the market. These creditors, 
or their representatives, are known as " deed poll holders " ; and 
the sums due to them, if calculated in full, amounted in 1888 to 
7,821 principal, with arrears of interest to the extent of 17,486, 
making a total indebtedness of over 25,000. The income 
from the market consisted of 350 per annum paid by the 
lessee for the right of receiving the tolls ; and the greater part 
of this was expended in repairs and cost of maintenance, or 
handed over to the charitable trust. Mr. Gr. E. Cockram, 
acting for the majority of the creditors, offered to surrender 
all claims for overdue interest, wipe out the original debt by 
one-half, and reduce the rate of interest for the future from 
5 to 4 per cent.; a sinking fund of one per cent, for the final 


extinction of the debt being established with a view to the 
markets being the property of the town and freed from tolls. 
The indebtedness of the market trustees would thus be 
brought down to 3,900, the interest of which would be 
met out of the revenue, still leaving a substantial sum for the 
charities. The questions thus raised, however, are at this date 
(1892) still unsettled. On Tuesday, August 28th, 1888, Mr. 
Arthur J. Ashton, barrister-at-law. on behalf of the Eoyal 
Commission on Markets and Fairs, held an inquiry at the 
Tiverton Town Hall relative to the markets and fairs of the 
borough. The appointment of the Commission was in conse- 
quence of a speech made in the House of Commons by Mr. 
Bradlaugh, who declared that the tolls in private markets were 
excessive, and that the whole matter was a fit subject for official 
investigation. From the evidence of Mr. John Williams, who had 
been lessee of Tiverton market for thirty-one years,it appeared that 
there had been a progressive decline in the revenue. He stated 
that he had taken the market in the first place by public tender, 
and that on several subsequent occasions there had been auctions. 
He was then paying 350 per annum ; when he first took 
the market, he paid 524. The receipts had been materially re- 
duced by the opening of the railways and the decrease of butchers, 
stalls. Where he used to take from butchers 5 or 6 a day, he 
now received' only 30s. A vast amount of trade, which used to 
take place in the market, was now done in shops. Other evi- 
dence referred to the corn market. This, it was stated, was in 
another part of the town, was private, and in the hands of an 
independent body of trustees. The corn tolls were very small, 
business being done principally by sample at the hotels. There 
was less said about the fairs, possibly because there was no ques- 
tion involved, as was the case with the markets. In May, 1869, 
however, by an Order in Council the fair-days were changed, for 
the sake of convenience, from the second Tuesday after Whitsunday 
and Michaelmas-day to the first Thursdays in June and October. 

The fairs, even more than the markets, have been shorn of their 
glory, and proposals have lately been made for abolishing them, the 
cattle fair in particular, which is held in the streets, being regarded 
in the light as a public nuisance. Sixty or seventy years ago, before 
the erection of the market, the entire fair was held in the streets. 
There was a row of stalls on each side of the full length of Fore- 
street, half-way down Gold-street, and in Bampton-street to a 
point a little above the present market entrance. The various 
branches of trade each had its locality assigned to it. The cloth 
and woollen stalls were in Bampton-street; the scythes, reap- 
hooks, sheep-shears, Blackdown scythe-stones, etc., near Ford's 
Brewery. This side of Fore-street was devoted to the sale of 
fruit and new and second-hand clothing. Leather goods adapted 
to agricultural pursuits, and consisting of furzing gloves, gaiters, 


bridles, halters, and the like, furnished many of the stalls. On 
the north side, from the " Tuns " to the Angel, was a continuous 
row of sweet-meat and toy stalls. In those days Tiverton Fair 
and its attractions drew hundreds, and, indeed, thousands, from 
the towns and villages within a radius of fifty miles. The horse- 
fair in Lowman Green was, perhaps, the best attended in the 
county. Not the least of the attractions on these occasions were 
the shows, which were pitched some in Bampton-street, some in 
the Boar's Head Inn yard, also the inevitable Cheap-Jack, and 
generally a dramatic company. For the farmers' daughters and 
their swains " the fair " had romantic associations, as it afforded 
an excellent opportunity for courtship. 

If chance some fairing caught her eye, 

The ribbon gay or silken glove, 
With eager haste he ran to buy 

For what is gold compared with love ? 

Ever since the year 1615, when the Charter was granted, it has 
been the invariable custom in Tiverton, as in other towns and 
cities publicly to "proclaim" at the hour of noon. During the 
reign of the Old Corporation the display, which was made on 
these occasions, did great credit to the inhabitants and marked 
the respect which they felt for one of the charters of their 
liberties. The Mayor, accompanied by all the Aldermen and 
Councillors, in their official garb, together with the beadles and 
constables, marched to Coggan's Well ; and the charter was read 
either by his Worship himself or the Town Clerk. This duty is 
now delegated to a policeman, and it is seldom that more than five 
or six out of the twenty-five members of the Corporation think 
it worth while to attend the ceremony. After a hasty recitation 
of the Charter and the pronouncement of " God Save the Queen " ! 
a derisive shout is given by half-a-dozen small boys, who are 
usually the sole witnesses of the proceedings, and then with 
down-cast looks the " procession " returns to the Mayoralty 
Boom, where his Worship endeavours to cheer their spirits with a 
glass of port, and the toast of " Success to the Tiverton Fair " 
is drunk in solemn silence. The proclamation on these occasions 
is as follows : 


The Right Worshipful the Mayor of this Borough hereby proclaims 
and makes known that this present Fair is commenced, and will endure 
and continue for this day ; and that all manner of Persons coming to 
and from this Fair shall have free coming and going with all manner of 
Goods, Cattle, Wares, and Merchandizes, paying their Toll, Custom, 
Stallage, Piccage, Finis, and Coverage to tlie same appertaining, without 
any let or trouble, except for Felony, Murder, or Breach of the Peace, 
or for Contracts or other things done with this present Fair ; and that 
there be not bought or sold any Merchandizes, Wares, Cattle, or other 
things brought to this Fair, to be bought and sold, but only in the open 


Fair, and at the place and places therefor respectively and usually ap- 
pointed, and not elsewhere ; and also the Mayor doth in Her Majesty's 
Name charge and command that all Persons coming, resorting, and 
being in this Fair, do keep Her Majesty's Peace, and that no Person do 
any Act to the Breach of the same upon pain of Imprisonment, and 
further to be punished and Fined according to their offences. And 
that all Foreigners and Strangers bringing Wares or Merchandizes to be 
sold in this Fair, do at the end of the said Fair close their Booths, Shops, 
and Stalls, without putting any manner of Wares, or Merchandizes to 
sell, after the said Fair is ended. God save the Queen. 

For " finis," in the above declaration we ought, perhaps, to 
read " fines," but the whole form is now such a farce that officials 
know little, and care less, as to what is being read. 

It has been the practice in some towns for many ages to notify 
the commencement of the fair by the hoisting of a large glove*. 
This ceremony is enacted with no little pomp at Exeter 
at the Lammas Fair, while at Barnstaple a glove suspended on a 
pole decked with dahlias, is placed before the oldest building 
in the town the Quay Hall, where it remains during the 
Fair. In the Western Times of October 2, 1847, 1 find 
the following reference to a similar usage at Tiverton : " There 
is a custom here of exhibiting a white glove at the end 
of a pole, decorated with flowers and evergreens, in some 
conspicuous position in the fair ; walking thoughtfully on, as our 
custom is, it caught our eye, and we asked what it meant. We 
were told it was the ' hansel t glove,' and then we got into an 
antiquarian train of contemplation, and recollected that a glove 
anciently signified possession or investiture, and were satisfied 
that this must be the origin of our custom." At Tiverton the 
custom is now discontinued. 

The following letter addressed by a townsman to the Tiverton 
Gazette in June, 1890, has reference to a curious relic of bye-gone 
days, known as " Churchyard fair " : -"Some of the inhabitants 
of Tiverton will be surprised to learn that there are more than two 
fairs held in the town' during the year. As a matter of fact 
there are four. On Whit Monday and Easter Monday the 
children of the town (some of them at any rate) resort to the 
' Works,' where two or three old people set up stalls for the sale 
of those peculiar kinds of ' refreshment ' (save the mark !) which 

* " It was part of the royal prerogative to set up markets, and fairs 
were established by virtue of the King's glove, which was the authority 
under which any free mart or market was held. The glove was 
ordinarily displayed as a token of security under which trade might be 
carried on uninterrupted, and was emblematic of the power to maintain 
order of the King who sent it." From Gloves, their Annals and 
Associations, by S. WILLIAM BECK, F.R.H.S. 

f Hansel (probably Hand Sale, or Handsel, a New Year's Gift) the 
money taken upon the first part sold of any commodity or first in the 
morning (Bailey). 


are seen' only on fair days, and in which the said children indulge 
and yet survive. This is known as Churchyard fair. Not long 
ago it was quite a merry pleasure fair, but now it does not seem 
likely it will outlive the few aged stall-keepers who have not for- 
gotten the tradition. In the authoritative work on ' Gloves ; 
their annals and associations,' by Mr. S. W. Beck, occurs the fol- 
lowing paragraph : 'The fair in the first place originated in the 
congregation of devout worshippers, on the festal day of the saint 
to whom some church was dedicated. From occasional business 
being done between people who rarely met at any other time, it 
became usual to frequent the church festivals for the sake of meet- 
ing customers ; the church authorities exacted payment for the 
privilege, and often gave over the churchyard or some part of the 
precincts to the traders. After this practice had been unavail- 
ingly forbidden by proclamation, an Act of 13 Edward II. was 
passed for the purpose of preventing any further holding fairs on 
sacred ground.' From which it would seem that Tiverton church- 
yard fair is a very interesting though illegal survival." 

With reference to the bowling-green which was supplanted by 
the present cattle market, I may say that, being always well 
kept, it was a favourite rendezvous on fine mornings for the 
gentlemen of the town and neighbourhood, who met there as 
much for friendly intercourse as for the game of bowls. ^Apropos 
of this, I may mention that in 1890 the Rev. Donald Owen pre- 
sented a set of bowls to the Tiverton Park, and these may now be 
used on payment of a small fee. At the end of the last and 
the beginning of the present century there was a club, consisting 
of tradesmen of the town, which included, among other objects, a 
weekly game of fives. This was performed on Saturday after- 
noons against the north side of St. Peter's tower, the ball, a light 
one, being struck, not with a bat, but with the hand, whence the 
name " Fives," referring to the five fingers. Attached to the 
" Elmore Bell," a respectable tavern kept by a Mrs. Hartley, was 
some ground where the same class of people played at quoits. The 
bull-ring was opposite the canal. At one time, as is intimated 
in the story of " Peter," the bull was led round the town, 
decorated with ribbons, and preceded by a fife and drum band, 
but various old Tivertonians whom 1 have questioned on the 
subject, can only remember the sport as a " stolen bliss." The 
Crediton shoemakers having arrived with the dogs, and a space 
having been roped in, the bull was introduced, his horns being 
protected with iron. The dogs, held between the knees of their 
owners, were let slip one at a time, and attempted to seize the 
bull by the nose. If the attempt was successful, the bull 
would, of course, make desperate efforts to shake him off and 
stagger round the ring, the clog swinging at his nose. If the 
bull endeavoured to get out, he was beaten back by the sticks of 
the spectators, and the dog which held on longest obtained the 


prize. Sometimes it was the dog which came by the worst, and 
he was tossed by the enraged bull as high as a house. The shoe- 
maker would then rush forward to catch his beloved dog and 
prevent his being injured by the fall. Any dog which " chattered " 
when going to the bull was disqualified. 

Early in 1831 the principal people of the town started a project 
for the erection of a public hall, reading and billiard rooms. The 
spot chosen was over the entrance to the market in Fore-street, 
and negotiations were speedily entered upon with the market- 
committee for the acquisition of the premises. The committee 
expressed their willingness to part with the site, but stipulated 
that the shareholders of the new enterprise should provide gates 
at the market-entrance. No difficulty was found in acceding to 
these terms and in due time the building was erected at a cost 
of about 3,000. For many years it bore the imposing name of 
" The Athenaeum," and it is now the " Technical, Science, and Art 
School." In 1843 the property passed into the hands of Mr. 
Heathcoat ; and in 1884 it was purchased by the Science and Art 

In September, 1831, there were serious disturbances among the 
lace-workers. The grounds of the quarrel seem to have been two- 
fold. In the first place, the price of lace having fallen, Mr. 
Heathcoat decided on a proportionate reduction in the oper- 
atives' wages. A great sensation was caused by this announce- 
ment, the consequence being that on Monday, October 3, there 
was a general strike. For three weeks the men continued firm. 
Every morning and evening they met together on the top of 
Exeter-hill and debated on the situation, after which they 
returned in procession to the town. Apart from the lowering 
of their wages the workpeople were deeply exasperated with one 
of Mr. Heathcoat's managers, Mr. Benjamin Wood. He had 
never been popular with them, and an impression prevailed that 
his counsels had a great deal to do with the disagreeable state of 
things then existing. The magistrates sought in vain to reconcile 
the parties ; and Mr. Heathcoat, fearing that in the present 
temper of his employees there would be a breach of the peace, 
went in person to Lord Ebrington, the Vice-Lieutenant of the 
County, and requested his interference. His Lordship hastened 
to the spot, but previous to his arrival, an affidavit having been 
made by the parish officers, the authorities swore in a number of 
special constables, besides taking other measures adapted to the 
circumstances. By this time the funds of the operatives were 
almost exhausted ; and, on hearing of the precautions which were 
being adopted, they became excessively angry. Seizing an oppor- 
tunity, when Lord Ebrington had left for Stoodleigh, they 
assembled in large numbers and. with effigies and torches, pro- 
ceeded to Leat-street, where was the residence of the Mte noir. 
Before they arrived, Mr. Wood and his family had taken the 


alarm and retreated to the factory, where they remained in 
safety. Meanwhile the crowd burnt the effigies in front of 
his door, smashed the windows, and broke into the house. 
They destroyed all the furniture, a good deal of ifc being 
thrown into the leat, and then searched for the owner. As 
he could not be found, they gradually dispersed to their homes. 
The riot occupied a considerable time, but, in spite of all that had 
been done to meet such an emergency, the mob were allowed to 
work their will almost without hindrance. Isolated members of 
the Corporation and others did indeed use their influence to 
induce the people to desist, but at a crisis of this sort force 
is the only remedy. Warned by what had happened, the 
authorities now acted with energy. The streets were patrolled by 
special constables during the night, and on the next day the 
Yeomanry were sent for. They, and their commander, Colonel 
Buller, arrived in the evening. Orders were given to the troopers 
to turn out at seven o'clock a.m. and by ten o'clock they were 
mounted and parading in " the Works." This show of promptitude 
prevented further outrages, and several of the ringleaders in the 
disturbance were arrested, and sentenced at the following 
assizes to various terms of imprisonment. The dispute, however, 
between Mr. Heathcoat and his workpeople still continued, and 
the former was on the point of engaging new hands under the 
protection of the military, when the workmen suggested that the 
average wage in similar factories should be ascertained. The offer 
was readily accepted. Mr. Heathcoat nominated one deputy, and 
the men another, while two others were appointed by the 
Corporation to act as referees if the former should happen to 
disagree. One after another Barnstaple, Taunton, Chard, 
Nottingham, Chesterfield, Derby, Loughborough, Leicester, and 
Tewkesbury were visited, and a table was drawn up shewing the 
average remuneration in each of the places named. The infor- 
mation thus acquired was presented to the public, when it was 
found that the current wage in most of the departments was con- 
siderably below the figure originally proposed by Mr. Heathcoat. 
As, however, the enquiry had been made at the instance of the 
men themselves, they were compelled to abide by the result. This 
with some grumbling they did, and work at the factory was re- 
sumed. I should add that subsequently Mr. Wood made a claim 
on the parish for compensation. The Paving Commissioners, to 
whom the question was referred, were at first disposed to resist 
the claim, and a committee was appointed to obtain counsel's 
opinion on the subject. On after-thoughts, however, they con- 
cluded that it would be better to compromise the affair, and, to 
avoid litigation 52 12s. was paid to Mr. Wood out of the liberty 

In March 1832 for the first time in the history of the town 
gas lamps were lighted. Gas works had been erected in 1822, 


but on too limited a scale to be of much service for general 
purposes. In 1831 a company was formed for lighting the whole 
town with gas. The capital at the outset amounted to .1,100 in 
a hundred and ten 10 shares, and an arrangement was effected with 
Mr. Heathcoat, the proprietor of the works, for the due supply of 
gas. The price was at first 15s. per thousand feet, but successive 
reductions were made until in 1843 the charge was 10s., two-third 
only of the original sum. Further reductions have since brought 
it down to 3s. lid. per thousand feet. The example of the Paving 
Commissioners in illuminating the streets with gas was quickly 
followed by shopkeepers and, after them, by private residents. 
Now, I presume, it is destined to be superseded by the electric light. 
Perhaps the saddest lot that ever fell to a human being was 
to be bound as a parish apprentice, and the following regula- 
tions passed in 1833 will help to explain why this was the case : 

The fine for refusing to take an apprentice being fixed by law at 
10, that smn is followed as the amount of inconvenience in imposing a 
parish apprentice. 

Farms, Fields, and Tithes. 

Every 100 of yearly value to take one apprentice. Every 50 and 
under 100 to take one apprentice, and to receive a contribution of 2s. 
in the pound from smaller tenements, with which it may be classed to 
make up 100 value. Farms and Fields under 50 yearly value to con- 
tribute and not take an apprentice except willing to do so, on receiving 
a contribution of 5 only from other properties. Farms to take a 
second apprentice when the number of children shall exceed one for 
each 100, and so on. 


Every dwelling house or other building of the value of 7 and under 
14, to be liable to take half an apprentice, or contribute 5 to any 
occupier under 14 rated value, taking an apprentice. Every dwelling 
house, &c., not being a farm house, value 14 and not exceeding 30, 
one apprentice. Every 20 above the first 30, one apprentice. No 
lodger to take an apprentice, and only one to be bound to the same 
person in each year. All persons refusing to abide by this scheme to 
take an apprentice. 

These arbitrary enactments aroused considerable opposition and, 
as the authorities neglected certain forms in distributing the 
apprentices, the circumstance was turned to account by insti- 
tuting an appeal. The attempt was successful and the custom of 
binding-out poor children was soon afterwards abandoned. 

In October 1834, soon after the burning of the Houses of 
Parliament, the people of Tiverton were startled by a report 
that one of their number had been committed to the Tower for a 
crime resembling that which has gained for Guy Fawkes his 
unenviable immortality. Later intelligence shewed this to be an 
exaggeration the person in question had only been subpoenaed 
as a witness. It seems that shortly before this event he had 
occasion to go up to town for the puroose of consulting a gentle- 


man of the long robe, who, as a relative of his own, had heen 
entrusted with his private affairs. Having transacted their busi- 
ness, the two friends parted with the understanding that the 
Tivertonian should dine with his lawyer in the evening. In the 
meanwhile, as he had nothing particular to do, he turned his steps 
in the direction of St. Stephen's, and, as he was being shown 
over the House of Lords remarked to the attendant on the 
excessive heat. The attendant explained that the heat arose from 
the burning of Exchequer talleys, and was not greater than usual. 
The visitor did not say more, but he could not get rid of the impres- 
sion that there was something gravely amiss. In the evening 
when he was sitting at table with the lawyer, the latter noticed 
a glow in the eastern sky, and the Tivertonian at once exclaimed 
" Depend upon it, it is the House of Lords on fire." He then 
mentioned the circumstances which had aroused his suspicions in 
the afternoon, and his host, who was, naturally, not a little 
curious, turned to the footman and told him to go out and make 
enquiries. The man soon returned with the news that the 
gentleman's fears were only too well-grounded the House of 
Lords was on fire. During a subsequent examination before 
Lord Brougham, the same Tivertonian was asked " Are you a 
member of the establishment ? " The witness, thinking perhaps 
of the Popish plot, did not at first comprehend the question. It 
was explained to him that the Court was not concerned with his 
religious beliefs ; had he any official connexion with the build- 
ing ? The deponent was able to reply in the negative. The 
Tivertonian, whose evidence was considered very important 
in elucidating the origin of the mischief, was none other than 
Mr. John Snell, my grandfather. 

The chief event in 1835 was the passing of the Municipal 
Reform Bill, the first elections being held on December 25th. 
The last acts of the Old Corporation were quite worthy of its 
general career ; the members, whenever they did sin, sinned 
stoutly. After the passing of the Eeform Bill in 1832, Lord 
Harrowby and his brother, having lost their Parliamentary 
interest in the borough, withdrew from the Corporation, and the 
members of that body felt that they must do something to repair 
the loss. There was a clause in the charter which enabled them, 
if occasion should arise, to recruit their ranks by force ; but so 
long as the Ryder family, with their wide political influence, con- 
tinued to dominate the Council, a seat on the board was a coveted 
prize, and the clause remained inoperative. Now, however, that 
they felt themselves beginning to sink, the Corporation seized on 
this straw and fixed on three unoffending residents, utterly unam- 
bitious of the honour, to serve on the board. These persons were 
not freemen, and two of them at least Messrs. Edward Lawson 
and Robert Bovill derived no advantage from the town, being 
private gentlemen living on their means. The third, Mr. 


Ambrose Brewin, was one of the chief lieutenants of Mr. Heath- 
coat, but as yet he was not in the enjoyment of the freedom of 
the borough. The Corporation, which included no less than six 
lawyers, decided that the distinction was not material, and 
they accordingly imposed a fine of 50 on each recusant. On 
receipt of this information, Mr. Brewin resolved to litigate the 
affair, while Messrs. Lawson and Bovill, wishing to save them- 
selves trouble, and being instructed that there was no precedent 
for the circumstances, paid the fine, conditionally on the money 
being refunded, if Mr. Brewin should succeed in establishing his 
immunity. A lawsuit was begun, but before much progress had 
been made with it, a case was discovered, which negatived the right 
of the Corporation to inflict penalties on other than freemen for 
the refusal of office. Thereupon the proceedings were abandoned 
by the Corporation, and Messrs. Lawson and Bovill applied for a 
restitution of the fines. As the money was not returned, the 
aggrieved parties addressed a memorial to the Lords of the 
Treasury, with what result 1 have been unable to learn. Very 
soon after, however, the Old Corporation ceased to be. They were 
succeeded by a new elective body, composed of the same number 
of members, but possessing a different constitution. The Corpora- 
tion now comprises six Aldermen and eighteen Councillors. 
The Mayor is chosen annually, but his tenure of office may be 
prolonged at the discretion of the Corporation. The Aldermen, 
also elected by the Corporation, retire every six years, while the 
Councillors, six of whom are allotted to each of the three wards 
Lowman, Castle, and Westexe Wards are elected for three years. 
Until quite recently the care of the lighting and paving of the 
town portion of the borough within what is known as " the 
half-mile radius," was vested in a body called the " Town 
Improvement (or Paving) Commissioners." By an Act of Parliament 
passed in 1875, this body was improved out of existence and 
their functions merged in those of the Corporation. 

The change from the Old Corporation to the New did not com- 
mend itself to all the inhabitants. Not a few of the latter con- 
sidered it to be most in accordance with the fitness of things, 
that they should be governed by men like Sir John Duntze, to 
whom the ordinary tradesman could touch his hat without any 
sense of indignity. Evidence of this feeling may be found in a 
skit on the Town Council, which appeared in a serio-comic 
paper, the Olla Podrida, published in the year 1843, to which 
the Masters and scholars of Blundell's School are said to have 

On Thursday last a special meeting of the Town Council was held at 
the Guildhall, and the notice being for ten o'clock precisely, several of 
the members attended as early as half -past twelve. The Mayor being 
called to the chair, the Town Clerk was called on to make his report as 
to the site of the new gaol, but excused himself inasmuch as he had 
mislaid a most important document, viz., the turnpike ticket of one of 


the carriers who had been employed in drawing sand, and although he 
had already removed nine cart-loads of papers from the table and floor of 
his office, he had not yet been able to recover it, but hoped by employing 
an extra clerk and the most remitting diligence, to be able to put his 
hand on it in a few months. A long and very interesting discussion 
then arose as to the size of the drain for carrying off the waste waters 
from the prison, some of the Council recommending tliat it should be 
seven inches wide, whilst others characterized that plan as a most 
extravagant one, and strongly advocated six inches and three-quarters. 
Mr. Hugh, in particular, patronized the lesser size. He had been used to 
water-works all his life ; he had always practised economy, and always 
would. He was elected by the burgesses to carry out re-trenchment 
(cries of " beef and beer.") He cared for none of these sneers ; he was 
an independent representative of the lower orders a man sprung from 
the people. He should be ashamed of himself, if he was guilty of such 
infamous extravagance as to consent to a drain being made of that 
enormous size, which some gentlemen wished, merely to gratify their 
own pride at the expense of the poor suffering burgesses. He told them 
plainly that Lowman Ward would never consent to it ; the people 
(especially the Elemorians) would rise in one united body against it, and 
he couldn't blame them for doing so, as he considered the scheme 
concocted entirely to spend the public money uselessly. He would, 
therefore, move that the drain should not be more than six inches and 
three-quarters wide (great cheers from the crowd led off by Mr. Facey). 
Mr. Thomas Pleasure was most happy to second the truly important 
motion of his very eloquent friend in the blouse, and without any dis- 
paragement to the no doubt independent burgesses of the Lowman 
Ward, he must say that his own constituents, who were some of the 
finest fellows that ever chewed little apples, would never consent that he, 
their own darling, their pet chicken, their dear darling representative, 
should sit mum-chance in this grave assembly, and give a silent vote on 
this momentous question. Six inches and three parts was wide enough 
for any drains to be paid for out of the public purse, and if gentlemen 
wished to indulge themselves with an aristocratic one of seven inches, 
he would suggest to them whether they ought not to pay for it them- 
selves. Mr. Martial said to be sure they did. About nine years ago he 
let fall a half pint in at the Half Moon, and there being no company 
there to make a collection, he was obliged to pay for it out of his own 
pocket. Mr. Thomas Breadall would like to ax the Mayor how wide he 
made the drains in his gert banging fields. He know'd somethink about 
it hisself, and had improved his own Manor of Claypit, and he thort six 
inches and three quarters a plenty. He couldn't use gert fine words like 
Tommy Turnpike there, but his vote was as good as t' others and he'd 
stick to the right side. Mr. G. H. Voicey, after the truly interesting 
debate and unused as he was to public speaking, could not refrain from 
a few observations. Ever since he had the honour of seconding his 
noble friend Lord Viscount Palmerston, Esquire, Home Secretary of the 
Foreign Department, he had been entrusted with the suffrages of his 
fellow burgesses ; and he wasn't ashamed to meet his constituents. He 
should be glad to see them all on former occasions, and he should go 
home without voting at all. After a few straggling remarks the Mayor 
put the question, which was carried by nine to six. Mr. Justice Coals hav- 
ing invited himself to Bolham to dinner, and Mr. Breadall having asked 
the price that pigs were like to fetch at Exeter to-morrow, the meeting 
broke up. 

The following fictitious address (undated) exhibits the same 
spirit of good-humoured raillery. The signature appended was 


that of a butcher known to be one of the most corpulent men in 
the town : 

To the Free and Independent Burgesses of Westexe Ward. 


At the solicitation of numerous influential parties in the 
Ward, I beg respectfully to offer myself as a candidate for your suffrages 
at the approaching municipal election. To those unacquainted with 
my innate modesty and retiring habits, this may be considered a some- 
what presumptuous step, but when we look at the manner in which 
this Ward has lately been represented, and the Burg-esses' interests so 
shamefully abused, I trust you will consider, from the weight 1 shall be 
able to carry in the Council, I shall be found the right man in the right 
place. To the licensed victuallers I confidently appeal. They may at 
all times rely on my wannest support, and I shall take the earliest 
opportunity of waiting upon each of them personally. As this is my 
first appearance in public, you have not had an opportunity of judging 
of my abilities as an orator, suffice to say that I am a sincere admirer 
of Lamb, and shall copy him as closely as possible. I shall not, therefore, 
trouble you with any further remarks on that score, bearing in mind 
the maxim of the immortal Will Shakspeare " Brevity is the soul of 
wit " If elected, I pledge myself to take my seat in the Council 
Chamber on thoroughly independent principles leaning neither to the 
right nor to the left ; and in a business point of view I flatter my self 
I shall be found worthy of your support. My qualifications having 
long been a " knight of the cleaver " in this ancient borough will, I 
doubt not, be considered sufficient for the high honour to which I aspire. 
I am, Gentlemen, Your obedient Servant, 

W. N 

My committee meet every evening at the " Live and Let Live," 
where I shall be happy to meet the electors, and answer any questions. 

The precise period when horse-racing was begun at Tiverton is 
somewhat doubtful. It is, however, generally believed that the 
practice commenced in the middle of the last century. The 
earliest race-bill of which a specimen can be obtained, is dated 
1815, by which time it is evident that the Tiverton race-meeting 
was an established institution. Even then the event was a very 
popular one, attracting thousands of spectators, and the course* 
during the intervals of the racing, had the appearance of a large 
picnic arid pleasure-fair " rolled into one." The meeting increased 
in popularity and importance year by year, until in 1835 Lord 
Palmerston became one of the members for the borough. He 
had as his colleague Mr. Heathcoat, and by their united patronage 
and support and by the very liberal subscriptions both of the 
townspeople and of many noblemen and gentlemen of the county, 
it was rendered one of the most attractive and best attended race- 
meetings in the West of England. It was held on the last 
Thursday and Friday in August. These two days, following 
immediately on the Blundell Celebration, which naturally drew a 
good many strangers to the town, were entirely given up to the 

* The course was situated in a field about a mile from Tiverton on 
the road to Bampton. 


races, being observed as general holidays, and the Kace Fund Ball 
in the evening was always largely attended. 

So great on those days was the influx of visitors by road, that 
the yards of the local inns and hotels were unable to accommodate 
half the vehicles. The only resource, therefore, was to remove 
the horses from the shafts, place them in the stables and leave 
the carriages in the streets. It was no unusual thing to see a line 
of carriages of every description extending from the " ThreeTuns" 
to the entrance of the market in Fore-street, and in St. Andrew- 
street from the Angel Inn to the gates of the Pitt Parsonage, 
while the other inns and hostelries were equally well patronized. 

At the period to which we refer, the nearest Eailway-station 
was at Bristol, and the race-horses, with their trainers and 
jockeys, travelled from one meeting to another by road. It was, 
however, not an unfrequent occurrence for valuable high-class 
horses to be transported in horse-boxes similar in construction to 
those now in use on the railways. These vans were drawn from 
town to town by fo'ur post-horses, which were ridden by 
postillions. On the course the carriages were ranged in a closely 
packed double row quite half-a-mile in length. Among them 
were many " swell " drags and fours-in-hand from Exeter and 
other places, containing officers from the barracks and their 
friends, both ladies and gentlemen. These used to enter the 
town with key bugles, playing the popular tunes of the day, and 
driven by "toffs" in their fashionable driving-coats with pearl 
buttons as large as small cheese-plates. On the opposite side of 
the course, in a line with the river Exe, was a neat and capacious 
grand stand and saddling paddock, with weighing and dressing 
tents for the use of the jockeys. From the gallery of the grand 
stand, to which admission was obtained on payment of half-a- 
crown, could be had an uninterrupted view of the course and its 
surroundings. At a short distance from the grand stand, but in 
a line with the river, was erected a rank of neat wooden booths, 
generally from eight to ten in number, belonging to the various 
innkeepers of the town, who were granted permission to sell 
refreshments, both eatable and drinkable, during the two days' 
racing. Over each booth was a covered gallery of seats, from 
which, on payment of sixpence, a good view of the racing could 
be obtained, away from the crush of the crowd and under shelter 
from the sun or rain. In the intervals of racing the Town Band 
promenaded the course for the delectation of those who were 
fond of music and did not object to an al fresco dance. All 
pedestrians were admitted to the course free, but carriages were 
subject to a charge varying from half-a-guinea to half-a-crown, 
and depending on the number of horses attached to them, and 
whether they had four wheels or only two. 

Although Lord Palmerston kept a rather large stud of race- 
horses, trained by John Day, of Danebury, and was himself a 


regular attendant at the Tiverton Eaces, his popular colours 
green jacket and orange cap were never seen here until Mr. 
Scobell's horse, Cracksman, beating the best horses that could be 
brought against him, had won the Tiverton stakes, 120 sovereigns, 
two years in succession. It was in connection with these victories 
that one of Palmerston's political opponents taunted him, 
jokingly, on not having any horse in his stables good enough to 
come and run for the prize. He smiled and said, " I will make a 
note of it, and I dare say John Day will look out something good 
enough to run for your Tiverton stakes another year." Accordingly 
the next year he brought down that good mare Iliona, winner of 
the Cesarewitch stakes in 1841 ; arid Jliona was the first and the 
rest nowhere. Palmerston laughed outright, and said, " I thought 
Day would find something good enough to win at Tiverton" ; but 
with his usual generosity, he added, " I will make the Committee 
a present of the money to form the nucleus of the prizes for 
another year." After that his colours were often conspicuous 
here, notably on his good horses Tootliill, Romsey, named after 
his seat in Hampshire, and Buckthorn, a very nice horse, probably 
the best horse Lord Palmerston ever had, and certainly the best 
he ever bred, his sire having been Venison and his dam Zeila. 

The following account of Lord Palmerston as a racing man, 
taken from Day's "Eeminiscences of the Turf," will, doubtless, be 
read with interest :--" Lord Palmerston kept horses with my 
father about the year 1817, and had several good ones. Amongst 
his early possessions may be mentioned Enchantress, Ranvilles, 
Biondetta, Luzborough, Black and All Black, Foxbury, arid Grey 
Leg ; and later Toothill, lliona, Zeila, Romsey, Dactyl, and 
Buckthorn. But 1 think that in racing circles he will be better 
known as the owner of Iliona than by any other. The name of 
Priam's daughter, on her firsb appearance in public, caused a 
sensation among the most learned orthoepists .... But a greater 
sensation was created when she won for Lord Palmerston the 
Caesarewitch. In early -life his lordship was always credited with 
being poor; and, until he married, anything like a substantial 
cheque was acceptable to him .... Buckthorn was a nice horse, 
rather above the average of the Venisons, and, like his father, 
stayed well. He was probably the best horse his lordship ever 
had, and certainly the best he ever bred, being by Venison out of 
Zeila. As a two-year-old he ran second to Little Savage for the 
two-year-old stakes at Winchester, third to Elcot and Flirt for 
the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom, and not placed in the New 
Stakes at Ascot, won by Bobbie Noble. As a three-year-old, he 
ran nine times and won five, and cantered over for the Wiltshire 
Stakes, dividing the forfeit with Mr. Winch's Proudfoot. He 
won at the following provincial meetings : Stockbridge, Winches- 
ter, Salisbury, and at his lordship's favourite meeting, Tiverton. 
His lordship never interfered at all with the management of his 


horses. He used to say to my father, ' Eun them where you 
like and when you think best. Only let me know when they 
are worth backing, or that you have backed them for me.' He 
seldom saw one tried or run. If he did, it would be at Tiverton 
when he was on a visit to his constituents for electioneering 
purposes .... Lord Palmerston was abstemious in his eating and 
drinking. A glass or two of sherry at dinner was all that he 
generally partook of. When the dessert came on the table, he 
would retire to his library or study, leaving her ladyship to do 
the honours of the table. He read or wrote from ten o'clock at 
night until two o'clock in the morning, standing at a high desk, 
as he thought such a position preferable, for the sake of his 
health, to leaning over a low one. He rose early, and in the 
country breakfasted at nine o'clock, reading before doing so. He 
was fond of many sports, though he seldom indulged in any 
except racing. He was extremely proud and vain of his person, 
which possibly gained him the soubriquet of ' Cupid.' He con- 
sidered himself, and indeed was, a thorough ladies' man, 
and only married late in life. When at Broadlands, his 
place in Hampshire, he used to ride over to Danebury, 
to see his horses, mounted on a thoroughbred hack, and 
his groom on another ; and starting from his own front 
door, gallop all the way until he reached his destination. Indeed, 
on arriving at Danebury he would go round the yard once or 
twice, gradually reducing the pace, until he could pull up. This 
may seem ludicrous, but it is no exaggeration, for I have seen him 
do so myself. He used to wear dark trousers, and a dress-coat of 
the same hue, the latter unbuttoned and of course, flying open, 
gave him a strange appearance in riding so fast. I never knew 
him partake of any repast at Danebury, not even a glass of 
sherry or a cup of tea, and doubt very much whether he ever 
entered the house. Immediately after seeing the horses, and 
chatting matters over with my father, he would ride back just as 
fast as he came. The reason he gave for riding so furiously was 
that it was, as he said, such ' capital exercise.' " 

Conducted as they were under such distinguished auspices, no 
wonder the Tiverton Races went on flourishing and growing in 
importance year after year. It is not easy to describe the spectacle 
presented by the place during the two days' carnival. Dense 
masses of people crowded about the course mingled with all 
manner of vehicles. Included among the latter were shows con- 
taining monstrosities of various kinds calculated to attract eager 
sight-seers caravans with wild beasts, both alive and dead, 
swing-boats, roundabouts, shooting-galleries, and boxing-booths. 
Figuring on the course, also, were three-card-trick men, pea-and- 
thimble sharpers, race-card sellers, vending " c'rect cards " and 
lists of the names, weights, and colours of the riders, itinerant 
musicians, nigger minstrels, ballad singers, gipsies, etc., etc. 


Altogether the scene was most animated, and the anniversary 
thoroughly enjoyed, as the Races generally produced exciting 
finishes. I regret to add that there were some features in the 
affair which the most indulgent of critics could not bring himself 
to approve, and with which the more respectable patrons such as 
Mr. Heathcoat who regarded the meeting more in the light of a 
social function than anything else, had nothing to do. One such 
feature was the roulette tables, which were placed in tents 
guarded by a brace of powerful bullies, whose office it was to 
prevent any attempt at robbery, to which the heaps of gold pieces 
presented an exceptional inducement. Occasionally also the 
betting was exceedingly high, and quite beyond the means of 
those who indulged in it. The result was in some cases disastrous, 
and one gentleman, whose name need not be mentioned here, was 
so gravely embarrassed by his losses that he was obliged to mort- 
gage his estate, which had been in the possession of his family 
ever since the Conquest, and which was ultimately sold in the 
open market. These facts are tolerably woll known, but few, 
perhaps, are aware of the precise circumstances of the wager. The 
gentleman in question had a favourite horse named Grimace. 
This horse was trained by a man named Harris, and the jockey 
he employed bore the singular name of Weediniron. The 
enthusiastic squire, having great confidence in the merits of the 
colt, backed him heavily, and during most of the race the animal 
seemed likely to justify his good opinion. His disappointment 
and chagrin may be imagined when, just in sight of the goal, 
horse and rider came in contact with the distance post, and the 
prize went to a rival. Among local men two notable supporters 
of the Eaces were Mr. William Westaway, an enterprising tailor, 
of Fore-street, and " 'Torney Tom Rendell." The former rode his 
own horses, of which he generally kept four or five. A gentle- 
man rider was Mr. Basset, of Watermouth Castle, who won the 
first steeple-chase, in 1864, with his horse Smasher. 

After Lord Palmerston's death the races began to decline, his 
successor, the Hon. George Denman, taking but little interest in 
sporting matters. He, however, appeared on the course, and in 
spite of his admitted ignorance, was once called on to act as 
judge. This was on the second occasion on which he 
ever visited a race-course, and in forming his decision he was 
assisted by a committee of racing men. Besides this, other 
reasons concurred to lessen the interest which had so long been 
felt in the Tiverton and IVorth Devon Eaces. Other race- 
meetings, aided by cheap excursion trains, arose in different parts 
of the country, nearer the great training establishments and 
giving richer money prizes than Tiverton could afford ; and after 
several spasmodic attempts to restore their prestige, they 
collapsed. The paraphernalia of the course, paddock, and fittings, 
ropes and stakes, fittings of the grand-stand, saddling and starting- 


bell, roofing, &c., were sold by auction on the 23rd May, 1885, in 
the yard of the Boar's Head Inn. 

The new Poor Laws came into operation in the year 1835, 
and Tiverton became the centre of a union including twenty-seven 
parishes. A fresh work-house was built at a cost of 8,800, and 
was first occupied at Michaelmas, 1838. The money required for 
this object was borrowed and re-paid by instalments. The relief 
of the poor in the parishes of the Union is administered by a 
Board of Guardians comprising 38 elected members, and the 
county justices within the area. The Guardians representing the 
parishes of the Union outside Tiverton constitute the Rural 
Sanitary Authority. 

The year 1837 witnessed the completion of the Independent 
buildings in St Peter-street. The chapel, commenced in 1829, had 
been finished the following year at an outlay of nearly 2,210, and 
it was now desired to erect a school and a house for the minister on 
the adjoining site. With this view the trustees approached the 
Improvement Commissioners and requested leave to remove the 
steps leading from St. Peter-street to Exe-bridge. Permission 
was granted, and the Commissioners on their part undertook to 
complete the road and foot-path over a part of the way and to 
take all the available materials. The total cost to the congregation 
of this undertaking (including the chapel) was 4,184 11s. lid. 
The chief credit for these achievements is due to the Rev. Mr. 
Heudobourck, through whose efforts the Elmore Chapel also was 
erected at a cost of 800. Mr. Heudobourck was a rara avis among 
Nonconformist ministers, as he was possessed of ample means, 
drove a carriage and pair, and kept a man in livery. He was, 
therefore, in a position to assist with his purse, as well as by his 
exceptional abilities, the congregation over which he presided. He 
was held in great respect, and during his ministry and that of 
his successors, Kev. H. Madgin and Rev. W. R. Noble, the 
Independent community enjoyed a period of unexampled pros- 
perity. The next pastor was the Rev. E. S. Bayliffe, B.A., who 
resigned in 1879. He was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas 
Cooper, who had previously officiated for some years as a preacher 
in the United States. While Mr. Cooper was in Tiverton, 
unfortunate disputes, culminating in legal proceedings, arose 
between him and some of the leading members of his congrega- 
tion, and a secession took place to a temporary structure in 
Barrington-street. When Mr. Cooper left in 1890, the seceders 
returned to St. Peter- street, and a new era of harmonious work- 
ing ensued under the pastorate of the Rev. Thomas Webster. 

On Tuesday, 6th September, 1836, the foundation stone of the 
Roman Catholic Church of St. John was laid by the Right 
Reverend Dr. Baines, assisted by Miss Eliza Chichester. The 
erection of this building was due to the Rev. Jean Mare Montier, 
an emigre French priest, who in 1823 accepted the office of 


Chaplain to the Chichester family. Mr. Montier, who died in 
1833, left instructions in his will for the building of a Catholic 
Chapel and the appointment of a resident priest, to attend to 
the needs of poor Eoman Catholics in the neighbourhood of 

In 1840 an obelisk was erected on Angel-hill. This inter- 
esting object cost .70, the money being raised by sub- 
scriptions. It was removed in 1878 to make room for an 
ornamental lamp-stand, the gift of Mr. John Lane. The Tithe 
Commutation Act, which was passed in 1837, made it necessary 
that every parish should be surveyed. On the 14th of February, 
1841, it was resolved that the tender of Messrs. Williams, Reed, 
and St. Aubyn, of Hay Ladock, Cornwall, should be accepted on 
condition that they should provide " one accurate second class map 
and book of reference of such parts of the parish of which the 
owners have no maps, &c., at 3d. per statute acre ; revise and 
average all correct maps existing, so as to form one complete map, 
at 2d. per acre ; and add all houses, buildings, gardens, streets, 
&c., for 25. The map to be drawn on a required scale of 3 
chains to an inch and the whole to be completed in seven months. 
Any number of these maps to be supplied at one half penny per 
acre each copy." As the contractors failed to carry out this 
agreement, a meeting was held on the 14th of June at the Town 
Hall for the purpose of re-considering the subject. The treaty 
with Messrs. Williams, Reed, and St. Aubyn was declared null 
and void and fresh offers were invited. Eventually, on behalf of 
the parish, the tender of Mr. William Eichards, of Tiverton, was 
accepted. The following were the terms : " To measure and 
map the town and parish of Tiverton, on first-class principles, on 
a scale of 3 chains to the inch, and to make three fair copies of 
such maps and the book of reference of the entire parish at 6d. 
per acre. To make a distinct map of the town as included in a 
circle half a mile distant from Coggan's well in Fore-street, of 
one chain to the inch, for the sum of 35. To complete the whole 
of the measuring and one map within ten months from the time 
of signing the contract, and to finish the remainder within two 
months after." The contract was signed by Mr. Eichards on the 
13th of July, 1841, and ths survey was commenced on the 25th 
of February in the following year. The contractor gained much 
credit for the way in which the project was executed, and he 
appears to have spared neither trouble nor expense in bringing it 
to a successful issue. Her Majesty's Commissioners, however, 
declined to accept the general map of the parish containing the 
four portions and insisted on receiving three maps of each portion 
separately. These the parish supplied. No survey of the parish 
was made between 1841 and the Ordnance Survey in 1884, 
but three maps of the Ordnance Survey have been obtained by the 
Town Council. One is on the scale of ten feet to the mile ; 


another 25 inches to the mile ; and the other six inches to the 

In 1841, under the direction of Mrs. Peard's trustees, 
alterations were begun in the interior of St. George's. The pews 
in the body of the church, the pulpit, and the reading-desk were 
taken down, and tiers of seats erected close to the north and south 
walls for the National School children and poor persons. The 
middle aisle was reduced from eight feet nine inches to five feet 
fire, and the seats which had hitherto been unusually wide, were 
shortened by six inches. The effect of these changes was a total gain 
of a hundred and seventy-four sittings. Alterations were likewise 
made in the gallery and a new vestry was added to the church. 
The cost of these improvements was about 310, which was to be 
paid out of the pew rents. Mrs. Peard's legacy was especially 
intended for the repair of the roof, and her trustees, who had 
absolute discretion in the matter, seem to have been unwilling to 
divert the funds to other objects. In 1836 the parishioners had 
been very anxious to appropriate the surplus interest to some of 
the uses above mentioned, but the trustees returned a decided 
negative. Now in 1841 they justified their existence by spending 
about 1,500 on the roof. The ceilings and pillars in the side 
aisles were raised for the sake of additional ventilation. So far 
as healthjand utility were concerned, something may have been 
gained by these measures, but St. George's in a general way is past 
redemption. Nothing will ever do it any good. The operations 
referred to were in progress from the 15th of August, 1841, to 
the loth of May, 1842 just nine months. During that time 
there was, of course, no service in the church, but four services 
were regularly held at St. Peter's at nine and half-past one for 
the congregation of St. George's and at eleven and half-past three 
for that of St. Peter's. The evening lecture remained unaltered. 

An important chapter in the annals of Tiverton is the history of 
railway communication. Railways are now such an established fact 
that it is difficult for those of the present generation to imagine 
how the world could possibly have wagged without them. It 
seems, however, that it did so, and there are still elderly persons 
among us who can recall the various shifts and contrivances 
which were resorted to in the absence of the now indispensable 
locomotive. One way of getting about was on horse-back or in a 
well-appointed gig, and, strange to say, these antiquated methods 
are not yet discarded ; but the ordinary mode of travelling was by 
the stage-coach. The first change took place about the year 
1843, when the Bristol and Exeter Railway was completed, and 
opened throughout its length. By this extension of the Great 
Western Railway was given the first direct, and for many subse- 
quent years the only, route to London from the West of England 
by the " iron horse ." The station used for Tiverton was that 
now known as the " Tiverton Junction," but for a long time it 


went by the name of the " Park Station."* It probably received 
this appellation from the estate on which it was built, but it is 
impossible to find anything in the nature of a park nearer than 
Bradfield, the seat of the Walrond's. At that date a considerable 
amount of trade seems to have been carried on between North 
and South Devon, the goods passing along the roads. Apparently 
the traffic met at Tiverton as a kind of half-way place, and the 
arrangement, no doubt, was productive of satisfactory results to 
many who were then in business there. A good deal of this trade 
was diverted by the opening in 1848 of the Tiverton Branch 
Railway, which had been provided for in the original Act of the 
Bristol and Exeter Railway. From 1848 to 1848 the passenger 
and other traffic from Tiverton was worked by coaches, etc., 
which proceeded to the Tiverton Junction v id Halberton, a state 
of things which is remembered as giving the minimum of accom- 
modation with the maximum of trouble and expense. The public, 
however, had not then been spoilt by the facilities and conveni- 
ences, which, thanks to large returns and keen competition, 
railway companies now lavish on their customers. In those early 
days second-class carriages were perfectly open at the sides, and 
third-class carriages were like cattle-trucks, without any shelter 
whatever ! 

The years 1844-45 were a time of great railway speculation 
and extension, and among other lines which were projected were 
two especially intended -to reach North Devon. One was the 
Taw Vale Line from Crediton to Barnstaple, which was liberally 
supported, if not promoted, by the then Earl of Portsmouth. It 
passed through this nobleman's estates, and at Eggesford gave 
him a station at his Park gates. The other from Tiverton to 
Barnstaple, via Exebridge and Southmolton, had the rather 
lukewarm support of Lord Fortescue and other landowners inter- 
ested in this part of the county. Both schemes were intended 
for the same session of Parliament (1846), but in consequence, it 
is said, of some caprice of Mr. Brunei, the engineer, in altering 
the plans of the North Devon line at the last moment, these 
could not be deposited in time. Those of the Taw Vale line, on 

* The Directors of the Bristol and Exeter Company proposed at first to 
erect a Station on Leonard Moor, in the parish of Sampford Peverell. 
Against this the inhabitants of Tiverton and the Turnpike Trustees pro- 
tested, and in 1842 they despatched a deputation to Bristol to argue the 
point. The Directors agreed to consider the application, but with 
reference to the further proposal of a branch railway, the deputation 
was informed that such a railway was not in the contemplation of the 
Directors, and that .there was no probability of its being made. The 
inhabitants were by no means pleased with the reply. For some years, 
owing to the mail road passing through Bampton, Tiverton was 
officially described as " near Bampton " .- and the inhabitants bitterly 
complained that in future their ancient and important town would 
be known as " Tiverton, near Sampford Peverell," 


the contrary, being in better bands, were lodged, and in tbe 
absence of any competing line, the Taw Vale Eailway was 
sanctioned by Parliament, and soon after put in construction and 
completed. When opened, this line naturally attracted all the 
trade between Exeter and South Devon on the one hand, and 
Exeter and North Devon on the other ; and from the completion 
and opening of the Taw Vale (now called the North Devon) 
Railway may be dated the loss of much of the importance of 
Tiverton as a trading centre between North and South Devon. 
Statistics would seem to verify this, as from the census and other 
returns it is seen that up to 1841 there had been, though gradual 
and slow, an increase of the population, while the data of 1851, 
1861, and 1871, shew a falling-off in this respect, as also in the 
number of inhabited houses. 

This was bad, but there was still left to Tiverton, as an agricul- 
tural and market town, its principal source of supply, i.e., the 
northern district of the county ; and, notwithstanding the 
loss of much of its former traffic, its reputation as a good business 
place and lively market town was fairly maintained. But the 
projection in 1863 or '64 of the Devon and Somerset Eailway 
from Taunton to Barnstaple threatened still further injury to 
Tiverton. Through the financial difficulties of the Company many 
delays occurred to put off the evil day, but its eventual completion 
in 1873 compelled those interested . in Tiverton to recognise the 
fact that its trading prospects were seriously attacked. A glance 
at the map will show how inevitably this was the case. Trade 
and agricultural supplies were diverted through the new line to 
Taunton on the east and to Southmolton and Barnstaple on 'the 
west, and this was aggravated by the issue of cheap market tickets 
to those towns. Thus, as the returns of the Tiverton market too 
fully prove, the hitherto good weekly supplies were reduced to a 
low ebb, and a very large range of country from Wiveliscombe on 
the east to Knowstone on the west, was absolutely severed from 
Tiverton. The obvious want of a railway led in 1862-3 and 
1864-5 to various projects for its supply. Persons supposed to be 
acting in the interest of the London and South Western Eailway 
Company proposed a narrow gauge railway, in connection with 
that company's line, from Exeter through Tiverton to Dulverton. 
During two or three successive sessions these schemes met with 
strenuous opposition from the Bristol and Exeter Company, who 
objected to any interference with what they termed their " vested 
interest " in the neighbourhood ; but the ultimate rejection of 
them in 1864 by the committee of the House of Commons was 
only secured by the Company undertaking to support any local 
scheme giving accommodation to the district. In reliance upon 
this a local company was formed and in 1865 was obtained the 
first Act for the construction of the Tiverton and North Devon 
Eailway, the Bristol and Exeter Company undertaking to provide 


direct communication with Exeter by an extension called the Exe 
Valley South. This promise they fulfilled to the letter by pro- 
moting the line in 1866-7, but they violated its spirit by failing 
to obtain the assent of the majority of the shareholders called to 
approve it at the Wharncliffe meeting. Consequently the project 
dropped. The denial of this extension southwards (since it was 
never maintained that the piece from Tiverton to Morebath would 
of itself be remunerative) and the absence of local support in 
quarters where it had been anticipated, brought about the abandon- 
ment of the entire scheme, and in 1868 the Act was repealed 
Thus both sections of the projected railway which seemed so 
necessary for Tiverton and the Exe Valley, and to which the 
Bristol and Exeter Company had pledged itself in Parliament, 
were lost. 

Following this came a time of railway depression, when 
extensions and guarantees to local companies were regarded 
by shareholders of the leading companies with abhorrence. The 
necessities of Tiverton, however, in this regard were felt to be most 
urgent, Its trade was dwindling, its population diminishing, and 
that without redress, while it had no other means of communi- 
cation with the outer world than a branch line, which professed 
to keep in touch with the up and down trains of the main line. 
Actually, however, there were daily detentions of passengers, and 
" Park Station " had the character of being a Mugby Junction (of 
which indeed it is said to have been the prototype). This want 
of punctuality was the occasion of great profanity. Curses both 
loud and deep were liberally bestowed on the managers of the 
Bristol and Exeter Hailway. This, of course, could not go on 
without an attempt at relief. Again in 1873-4 the same persons 
who had obtained the Act of 1865, with considerable accessions 
to their ranks, began to move in the matter, the leading spirit 
being the late Mr. William Partridge, solicitor, but for whose 
efforts it is practically certain Tiverton would never have secured 
the boon of increased railway accommodation. After protracted 
negotiations with the Bristol and Exeter Company as to the 
support which it would receive from them in the shape of sub- 
scribed capital, terms of working, &c., the scheme ultimately 
assumed a shape which justified the promoters in again going to 
Parliament. The line, much changed from what had been proposed 
in 1865, in order to meet the views of certain shareholders, was 
again sanctioned by the Act of July, 1875. Its troubles, however, 
were then only in their inception. The want of local support 
was once more painfully manifest. The principal landowners, 
with one notable exception, (Sir John H. Heathcoat-Amory, 
Bart.) were found either to be resisting the line indirectly or, 
as was often the case, were openly opposed to it. One result 
of this opposition on the part of one or two local " squires " was 
that when the line was ultimately made, the village of Cove was 


left without a station, although in the original plans a station 
at that point had been projected. 

In 1876 the Bristol and Exeter Railway was sold and trans- 
ferred to the Great Western Eailway Company, who then came 
on the scene to be treated as parties de novo. After lengthy 
discussions with that company fresh terms were arranged and in 
1878 received Parliamentary sanction. It was thereby agreed that 
on the local share subscription reaching =25,000 the Company 
should find the remainder of the capital. Hope deferred, it is 
said, maketh the heart sick. The truth of this adage the pro- 
moters of the railway had good reason for knowing, since it was 
confirmed to them by experience. The difficulties of raising the 
small amount of local capital required, proved much greater than 
had been anticipated, though they were surmounted at last chiefly 
through the liberality of Sir J. H. Heathcoat-Amory, who, with 
members of his family, subscribed 7,000. A contract was then 
taken for the line ; but in 1880 litigation commenced between 
the Company and Mr. R. F. Loosemore (through a small portion 
of whose land the line ran), and, as the dispute was kept up 
with great spirit for four years, the completion and opening of 
the line were delayed by at least eighteen months. 

However, everything comes to him who can wait, and in 1884, 
about forty years after Brunei's scheme had been first adumbrated, 
a railway connecting Tiverton with North Devon was an accom- 
plished fact. The first Directors were: Sir J. H. Heathcoat- 
Amory, chairman ; Mr. G. W. Cockram, (the then Mayor) 
deputy-chairman ; the Right Hon. W. N. Massey, M.P. for 
Tiverton ; Messrs. F. Mackenzie, A. Paine, and E. M. Winton. 
The solicitors for the Company were Messrs. Partridge and 
Cockram. The day on which the line was opened (Thursday, 
July 2nd, 1884) was marked by public rejoicings both at Tiverton 
and Bampton. The work was completed by the opening in the 
following yearof the Exe Valley South extension. Thus by placing 
Tiverton on a quasi main and through line all was done that 
could be done for it after its original and better chance of being 
on the main line itself had been lost through the ignorance and 
perversity of those who in 1838, it is said, exerted themselves to 
keep the railway from the town and raised money by subscription 
to oppose its coming through Tiverton and the Exe Valley. 

So much for the wisdom of our ancestors ! 

The traffic returns of the Tiverton and Xorth Devon line have 
shewn a steady increase from the time of opening, the average 
yearly advance from 1884 to 1891 being about 100 a year ; 
but the heavy difficulties encountered by the Company in its 
initial stages affected its finances so severely that no dividend 
has yet been paid to the shareholders, nor is there any prospect 
of a dividend for several years to come. It has recently been 
suggested that the Great Western Railway, who subscribed two- 


thirds of the share capital, should acquire the other third (about 
=25,000 worth), at the rate of 5s. in the . That the trade of 
the town has largely benefited through the provision of increased 
railway accommodation there can be no doubt ; and to this fact 
the shareholders must look for consolation in default of any direct 
return upon their money. 

In 1842 a building in St. Andrew-street which had been in use 
as a National School since 1820, was adapted for purposes of 
worship by an offshoot of the Methodist denomination, known as 
Bible Christians, which came into existence chiefly through the 
evangelistic labours of a West-country farmer named Bryan 
whence the term " Bryanites," applied for a number of years 
to his followers. A new Bible Christian Chapel was erected on 
the same site in 1837. 

Mention has been already made of the local prison erected on 
the site of the old Bridewell. The operations by which this 
improvement was effected fell within the years 1844-6. I may 
therefore avail myself of this opportunity to refer to criminal 
matters at Tiverton under the old regime. The sentences passed 
at the Sessions were sometimes very severe. One woman, 
Elizabeth Dunn, was sentenced as a receiver of stolen goods to 
fourteen years' transportation, but, as she was too old to be 
shipped to the Southern Seas, she was kept in Tiverton gaol from 
1798, the date of her admission, to 1812, when she was discharged 
at the age of 75. As if to mitigate this harshness of the 
judicial mind the discipline within the precincts of the prison was 
ridiculously mild. 

A memorable trial occurred on one occasion in the old Town 
Hall. A respectable person was indicted on a charge of bigamy. 
She took her place in the dock, dressed in a black silk dress, and 
was defended by a barrister named Frisby, who pleaded for her 
until the perspiration ran down his face in streams. The climax 
was reached when the prisoner, on being told to hold up her right 
hand and asked why sentence should not be pronounced, spoke 
for herself and so eloquently as to move the entire court. The 
sentence passed on her was three months' imprisonment. She 
spent most of the time in the gaoler's kitchen, running, when- 
ever a visitor was announced, into the cells. 

With regard to the escape of prisoners, the following story 
has been told me by a Tivertonian whose father had a small 
share in it. The latter was the landlord of a " Tom and Jerry " 
public, called " The Country House," in St. Andrew-street (not 
the present building, but one on the same site) and a few doors 
from him lived a family named Wynn. There were two sons John 
and Jim fine athletic young fellows, with an evident talent for 
getting into scrapes. It so happened when John was about 
sixteen years of age, that Mrs. Chesney, mother of the author of 
the " Battle of Dorking," who then kept a ladies' school in 


one of the large brick houses at the top of St. Peter-street, cast 
her eye upon him, and thought he would be a suitable atten- 
dant in her establishment. He was accordingly engaged and 
seems to have remained for some time in her service. A few 
years later in January or February of 1842, my informant 
thinks John and Jim had been enjoying themselves at a friend's 
and were returning home, when one of them suggested, that "for 
a lark " they should make their way into Mrs. Chesney's. John, 
of course, knew all about the premises, and they appear to have 
found little or no difficulty in carrying their plan into effect. It 
was then about one or two o'clock in the morning ; and, thinking 
themselves quite safe, they descended into the kitchen, lit a candle 
and regaled themselves from some bottles of wine, to which they 
had gained access, until they were nearly fuddled. Next door to 
Mrs. Chesney was the house of Mr. John Barne, who happened 
that evening to have been at a party. On his return he noticed 
a light in Mrs. Chesney's kitchen. The circumstance struck 
him as unusual, he became suspicious, and, ringing the bell, he 
called up the inmates. Having explained his motives, he offered 
to go down to the kitchen and see what was amiss. There, if 
you please, he found Messrs. John and Jim Wynn reclining at 
their ease and partaking of the good things which the establish- 
ment afforded. He was not long in reminding them that they 
had no business there, and being himself a powerful man, over 
six feet in height, he grasped them each by the collar, and 
marched them down to the prison in St. Andrew-street. Of the 
two Jim appears to have been the less drunk, and exposure to the 
fresh air did something to clear away the fumes of intoxication. 
As they wended their way to the prison he began to realise the 
awkwardness of the situation. At any other time, he thought, 
Mr. Barne would not have been able to drag him and his brother 
to gaol, single-handed, as he was now doing, but as things were, 
he felt it would be hopeless to resist. Outside the door of the 
gaol was suspended a long rope for ringing the bell, and Mr. 
Barne, having both hands occupied, ordered his prisoners to 
give it a pull. Jim excused himself on the ground that he had 
hurt his foot with a piece of glass, and seizing his opportunity, 
begged Mr. Barne to relax his hold, pointing out that it was now 
impossible that he should escape. Mr. Barne fell into the trap. In, 
a moment Jim sped down the street like lightning, and was soon 
" lost to sight, to memory dear." In the meantime the other victim, 
John, was safely committed to the mercies of Mr. John Radford 
the gaoler. In those days prison discipline was nothing like so 
strict as it is now, and John was able from time to time to quit 
his cell and communicate with the other prisoners. He had no 
mind to stay there any longer than was necessary, and resolved at 
the earliest moment to make a bid for freedom. Now the wall 
of the old prison was constructed on a very different plan from 


the present one. There were a few feet of stone and all above 
this was mud, thick enough, perhaps, but eminently open to 
perforation. John and his comrades procured tools, and one 
night when the gaoler was absent or drowsy, scooped out a hole 
large enough for the passage of the human frame. Through this 
hole they tumbled some twelve or thirteen of them one after 
another, like sheep through a gap, and before many minutes had 
elapsed, had seen the last of Tiverton gaol. We now return to 
Jim. A night or two after the young men had disappeared, Mr. 
Hooper was making a tour through his backyard, when he was 
startled to hear his own name. On further examination he 
found that the voice proceeded from his furnace, where he was 
accustomed to brew his beer. It was that of Jim Wynn, who 
had ensconced himself there on the night of his escape, and was 
now almost perishing with hunger. Mr. Hooper, being a humane 
man, fetched him some bread and cheese and some beer, but 
warned him that he must evacuate the same night, as otherwise 
he himself would be implicated as an accomplice. Jim promised 
to comply, and soon afterwards he rejoined his brother. The 
pair took refuge in a merchant-man bound for China, representing 
themselves as two cousins of the name of Rooks. They remained 
away for two years, after which they returned to England, and, 
when last heard of, were leading respectable lives in London. 

A still more daring feat was accomplished in June, 1870, when 
a prisoner escaped from the new prison. The particulars of the 
event are as follows : 

The new gaol was in every respect very different from its 
predecessor. The walls were of solid masonry and carried to 
such a height that those on whom the massive doors had once 
closed must have felt their fate was indeed sealed and that for the 
time at least, they might " all hope abandon." Such, however, 
was not the feeling of James Dunn. Not long before he had 
been committed to Tiverton gaol on a charge of highway robbery, 
and he was stated, morever, to be a deserter from the army. At 
present only James Dunn knew the certainty of these matters, 
but the authorities having secured the man, would now be able to 
investigate into his antecedents at their leisure. It is probable 
that Dunn anticipated unpleasant consequences from these 
enquiries : at any rate, he determined to run no unnecessary risks 
from the fallibility of his judges. On the contrary, being, of the 
temper of Latouche, he decided in the phrase of Prince Bismarck, 
not " to stew in his own juice " a moment longer than might be 
necessary to complete his preparations for escape. The plan by 
which he emerged from " durance vile, " was cunningly devised, 
and his skill and daring in executing it were also remarkable. As 
soon as he was known to have " bolted" amazement filled the 
breasts both of the gaol keepers and the inhabitants. The 
gaolers, I understand, were in great distress and ardently longed 


for his capture, while the inhabitants freely expressed their 
admiration at the rascal's clever escape and wished him no further 
harm than that he might elude the grasp of his pursuers. A 
" hue and cry " was raised, and the constables, having discovered 
the route he had taken, were soon on his traces. 

it appears that on the evening in question Burnell, the warder, 
admitted the prisoner into exercise yard No. 1 , and locking the 
door, left his charge, as his custom was, to prepare for the inmates 
of the gaol their supper. On his return to the yard, after an 
absence of eight or ten minutes, lo and behold ! Dunn's apart- 
ment was empty. A glance was enough to satisfy the warder's 
curiosity ; the bird had flown ; and as it was fatal to waste time 
in vain regrets, he at once raised an alarm. On examination the 
mode of the prisoner's egress was clear. In the yard where he 
was left by the warder, was a little shed, where the inmates were 
accustomed to work in rainy weather. This shed was furnished 
with a long metal shute for carrying off the water. ' Wrenching 
off this shute immediately that he was alone, the prisoner must 
have climbed up the iron railings which enclosed the end of his 
narrow cell, and having arrived at the top of the inner wall, he 
appears to have stretched the shute from the place on which he 
was standing to the outer or boundary wall, about four or five 
feeb higher. He next brought into requisition a long line which 
he had manufactured out of half a bed-sheet, and tying a stone 
which seems to have been used at his work, to the end of the 
rope, he threw it over the boundary wall. Grasping tightly the 
other end of the rope, he crossed the shute and safely arrived at 
the top of the outer wall. Here he devised another plan of 
fastening the sheet. Instead of trusting to the stone before 
used, he drove the " hold-fast," which had supported the shute, 
into the end of his temporary rope, and allowed the stone to 
drop to the bottom outside. Just as the prisoner began to 
descend, the rope must have broken, for only a yard of the torn 
sheeting was found on the top of the wall, whilst the remainder 
with the stone at the end, had dropped into a small garden below ; 
and, to judge from the foot-prints, the runaway must have fallen 

The prisoner was now free, and fortunately for him, no one 
witnessed his escalade but a little girl in an adjoining garden. She 
does not seem to have regarded the matter as in any way singular 
for, afterwards on being questioned she said that she had thought 
that Dunn was a labourer, and employed there. The result was 
that the prisoner got about five minutes' start. His course is 
believed to have been down St. Andrew's-street, through the 
" Tumbling Fields," and over Newte's Hill, where, according to 
the statement of a boy, the prisoner stopped him and warned him 
to say nothing of having met him when he reached the town. 
Dunn's motive for this precaution was that he was wearing a pair 


of trousers with the words " Tiverton Gaol " printed rather 
plainly on them. The inscription, however, was partially covered 
by a white slop, and this will account for its escaping the notice 
of people who might have met him in the early part of his 
journey. After his alleged presence on Newte's Hill he was seen 
no more until about one o'clock the next morning when Police- 
Constable .Ryder, who had been stationed by Superintendent 
Crabb to watch the prisoner's house at Sampford Peverell, saw 
him in the act of throwing gravel at a window which was 
supposed to be that of his wife's bedroom. The constable, wishing 
to make sure of his arrest, made off quietly to another quarter of 
the village, where a comrade, named Jarvis, was also acting the 
part of sentinel. The two then proceeded by different routes to 
Dunn's house. On his way Jarvis entered a barley field, and here 
to his surprise he found the loving couple lying on the ground and 
composing themselves to sleep. Jarvis' arrival was a rude awakening 
for them, but Dunn did not capitulate without a fierce fight for 
freedom, and but for the timely aid of Constable Ryder, Dunn 
might once more have escaped. As it was, he was secured and a 
horse and cart having been obtained at the nearest public-house, 
the luckless prisoner was conveyed to Tiverton and safely lodged 
in the gaol. 

In 1846 a dispute which had been long pending between the 
Feoffees of Blundell's School and the inhabitants of Tiverton, 
terminated in the victory of the inhabitants. The course of this 
dispute is extremely tortuous, and I am not sure that it will be in 
my power to describe with perfect accuracy the various incidents 
which marked its progress. The points at issue, however, are 
clear and plain. For some time the people of Tiverton had 
laboured under an uncomfortable conviction that the Bluridell 
Charity, which was intended primarily for their benefit, was being 
applied in a way by no means correspondent with the will of the 
donor. The main grievance of which they complained was the 
introduction of boarders, who, instead of being grateful for their 
privileges, despised the native boys to use Mr. Blackmore's 
phrase as " cads " and absorbed no inconsiderable portion of the 
funds, which were laid out in scholarships. The appointment of 
Feoffees who were unconnected with the town, and who were dis- 
posed to uphold the existing character of the School as the 
fashionable boarding-school of the county, and the obvious 
pecuniary interest of the Master and Usher in pushing the claims 
of the boarders, whenever an opening occurred in the assignment 
of scholarships, were regarded as the principal causes of the 
diminished value of the school as a local institution for the 
education of Tiverton boys. 

About the beginning of 1837, when the Feoffees were consider- 
ing what to do with the surplus funds at their disposal, more than 
a hundred and fifty " burgesses and others" signed a petition to 


the House of Lords, in which they set forth their complaints, as 
above stated, and suggested that the Master and Usher should be 
remunerated in proportion to the number of "free scholars." As 
this petition had been signed privately, it was objected to on that 
ground and declared not to represent the sentiments of the 
inhabitants. But the agitation thus started was not allowed to 
subside, and on the 28th December, 1838, a public meeting was 
held and a committee was appointed "to communicate with the 
Trustees of Blundell's School, respecting divers matters in which 
the inhabitants of Tiverton were deeply interested." Not long 
after, it was ascertained that the Feoffees were preparing a peti- 
tion to the Court of Chancery; and the Committee, in view of this 
proceeding, summoned a meeting of the inhabitants on the 31st 
January, 1839, when it was resolved that the Committee should 
represent to the Trustees, that it would be very agreeable to the 
inhabitants if the surplus income of the school were devoted to 
educational objects, viz. the instruction of the pupils in art, 
science, and modern languages. 

The Trustees, in the course of the same year, 1839, submitted a 
scheme to the Court of Chancery for the application of the 
surplus funds. In order to do away with the existing fees for 
tuition, they proposed to increase the salaries of the Master 
and Usher. They also expressed their willingness to pro- 
vide gratuitous instruction in Mathematics ; to augment the 
existing scholarships and exhibitions ; and to establish fresh 
exhibitions : while, as regards the admission of foreigners, 
they desired the direction of the Court. On the 4th June, the 
Master, having considered the petition, made an order accordingly. 

Towards the end of the year two affidavits were signed by the 
inhabitants ; one in favour of extending the curriculum to 
science, general literature, and other branches of learning ; while 
the other advised the retention of a purely classical education. 
Meanwhile a petition had been forwarded by inhabitants to the 
Court of Chancery in opposition to that of the trustees : and in 
February, 1840, the Vice-Chancellor gave judgment. His decision 
was that, so far from establishing their case, the petition of the 
inhabitants was " a foul libel upon the masters, trustees, and all 
those who were concerned in the management of the school." He 
added a rider, however, allowing " the petitioners to come before 
the Master, under the existing reference, and to carry in a new 
scheme." In other respects the petition was dismissed, and the 
petitioners had to pay the costs. 

Thereupon the inhabitants decided to proceed against the 
trustees by " information." As the expression may not be intelli- 
gible to lay persons, it may be well to explain that it is usual 
for an information in Chancery to be filed by the Attorney- 
General, in cases where public charities are misapplied. The Lord 
Chancellor gave judgment on this fresh suit the 18th January, 


1841, staying all proceedings under the order of the 4th June, 
1839, and quashing the order of the 14th February, 1840. He 
further suggested that, as the analogous case of the Manchester 
Grammar School had been already before the Court, the decision 
then given should be accepted as the basis of an amicable settle- 
ment, in order that the charity might be spared the expense of 
continued litigation. 

No further progress, beyond mutual threats and recrimina- 
tions, appears to have been made with the affair until 1844. On 
Wednesday, the 4th September, in that year, a Commission was 
opened at the Three Tuns Hotel for the purpose of receiving 
evidence concerning Blundell's School. The proceedings lasted 
till the 12th October, and the evidence collected on this occasion 
was not published until the March of the following year. Of 
the ninety-one witnesses whose depositions were taken either in 
Tiverton or London, on behalf of the town, no less than seventy- 
five advocated a more varied course of instruction. One indi- 
vidual " thought it desirable to state that there were a consider- 
able number of mechanics and artificers, of a superior class, 
resident in the town, in consequence of the large manufactory 
established there, who would be glad to place their sons to be 
educated at Blundell's School, if the system of education was so 
extended as to fit them for their calling in life " : while another 
considered that it would be advisable that extra attention should 
be paid to writing and arithmetic, as he had known boys, who 
had spent from five to seven years at Blundell's School, unable to 
write a letter in the English language or add together small bills 
of accounts. In fact, this was a grand opportunity for all the 
conceited bores and meddlesome busy-bodies in the neighbour- 
hood to come forward and air their opinions. Comprised in 
the list of witnesses were " two independent gentlemen, two 
clergymen, one mathematical tutor of Blundell's School, seven 
professional gentlemen, one Dissenting minister, ten farmers or 
yeomen, fifty-five tradesmen, nine schoolmasters and clerks, and 
three respectable persons retired from business." Fifty-nine ex- 
pressed the opinion that the " cads " had a bad time. Besides 
these, fifty-six persons g-ave evidence on the side of the Trustees ; 
and fifty-two for the Masters. These, of course, made it appear 
that everything was exceedingly nice at the School, and that, 
upon the whole, to be a " cad," was rather an advantage than 

On the 29th October, 1846, his Honour the Vice-Chancellor of 
England decided that " neither the Master nor the Usher of the 
said School ought to receive any payments from or in respect of 
any of the boys educated in the said School, or ought to take any 
boarder; and that none but boys educated as Free Scholars, 
videlicet, scholars free of expense in the said School, according to 
the directions in the said will as varied by this decree, ought to 


be eligible to the said Scholarships and Exhibitions." The ques- 
tion of instruction in science, literature, and modern language 
was referred to " Master Senior," and for the present remained 

The results of the Vice-Chancellor's decree are to be seen in a 
" Scheme for the .Regulation and Management of Blundell's 
School, Tiverton," which was confirmed by the Court of Chancery, 
the 4th August, 1852. A considerable portion of this scheme is 
merely a reiteration of the provisions of Blundell's will, which 
were henceforth to be rigidly enforced. The difference, however, 
in the value of money and the augmentation of the funds of the 
Charity suggested a higher remuneration for the services of the 
teachers. The Head Master was to receive 400 per annum, 
without any deductions being made for rates or taxes, while the 
Usher was to be paid .100 per annum on the same conditions. 
Both were to inhabit the dwelling-houses, meadow, garden, and 
premises appropriated to their use. For these no rent was 
demanded from them, and any repairs that might be necessary 
were to be paid for out of the funds of the Charity. On the 
other hand the Master and Usher were strictly forbidden to 
receive boarders or to associate with their office the cure of souls 
or any other duty, without the sanction of the Trustees. Three 
Assistant Masters were to be appointed the first to teach French 
and^G-erman ; the second, mathematics ; and the third, writing 
and arithmetic. Each of these Assistant Masters was to be paid 
an annual sum not exceeding 50, clear of all deductions ; but, 
with the assent of the Trustees, each of them might take pupils 
into their houses as boarders, the number of boarders in each case 
not to exceed ten. It was provided also that the duties of mathe- 
matical and writing master might, if the Trustees saw fit, be per- 
formed by the same person, who was, in these circumstances, to 
be paid not more than 75 per annum. Instruction in grammar 
and in the Latin and Greek languages was to be imparted free ; 
but every boy receiving instruction in any additional subject was 
to pay 4 head money. If he was taught two additional sub- 
jects, then the charge was to be 5 ; and for three additional 
subjects a fee of 6 was instituted. Only free scholars were to 
be eligible for Scholarships. 

The scheme of 1865 introduced some important modifications 
into the arrangements. The number of pupils, who might be 
admitted into the School, was left to the discretion of the trustees, 
instead of being limited to 150, as fixed by the will of Peter 
Blundell, and confirmed by the previous scheme. The Usher's 
salary was raised to 150 per annum, and the sum paid for 
head-money was increased by I in each of the three cases. Two 
alterations were severely criticised at the time. In the first 
place, the Trustees were empowered to rent or purchase a suitable 
piece of land as a playground. This, it was contended, was an 


unnecessary expense, as a playground already existed. Secondly, 
persons in the town, not being Assistant Masters at the School, 
were permitted to receive pupils as boarders, but all houses, which 
were licensed for the purpose, were subject to domiciliary visits of 
the Head Master. It was objected to this arrangement that 
anyone desiring to oblige a relation or friend by accommodating 
his children, was practically reduced to the position of a common 
lodging house keeper. Lastly, I should state that, by this new 
scheme the restriction limiting the tenure of scholarships to free 
scholars was done away. 

As may readily be supposed, these changes, and the protracted 
litigation which preceded them, were the cause of much angry 
feeling. I have by me two or three choice productions, one of 
them by a Cambridge man, and. in spite of his assumption of 
superiority, quite unworthy of a gentleman. Among the 
opponents of the Trustees were several local notables, whose 
character and position should have protected them from his 
scurrilities, while sneers at less fortunate people on account of 
their trade or profession are always exceedingly cheap and always 
highly discreditable to those who indulge in them. 

The following reply, however, to a letter, signed " A Grateful 
Son," while decidedly witty, has no taint of bitterness and 


I am quite disposed to pay a most deferential attention to your Hand- 
bill of the 17th instant, partly because I think it probable from your 
superior wisdom, that you may have had some considerable connexion 
with BlundelFs School, and because I think that you have made the 
ablest, and indeed the only defence, that any man could make of the 
present condition of that venerable establishment. 

Let me come at once to the gist of your argument You say that you 
had always been led to suppose that Blundell intended to establish a 
Boarding 1 School, as well as a Day School, and that you are borne out in 
this opinion by his Will. You very properly instance his directions as to 
a Hall and Buttery, and Kitchen with one fair great Chimney, and an 
Oven ; a convenient Garden, and Wood-yard, a strong Wall round the 
whole, and an entrance Gate ; and you infer that accommodations so 
ample as these could not be intended exclusively for the Master's private 
family that he could not and oiight not to want them, since at their first 
erection when Boarders were plenty, and natives were scarce, they were 
fully sufficient for the purposes of a Boarding- School. 

Jow I will maintain you to be correct in all these conclusions. I assert 
that the Master, with his Wife, and seven or eight Children, and a 
Servant covld have no occasion for those THREE "fit and convenient" 
Chambers, that one, or at most two, was quite enough for the whole of 
them, and the other sufficiently commodious for the stowage of five or 
six score Foreigners. I contend with you that the Chamber Windows 
were never fitted up with " Iron Bars," or the premises surrounded with 
a "strong Wall," to prevent the Master from getting out, but I should 
rather think were designed to prevent the poor simple Natives from 
getting in. As this has, however, been accomplished by other laudable 
means, I would go on to observe, that one " fair Great Chimney," and an 


Oven too \ for a man, his wife and family, must have beenperfectly monstrous. 
It MUST have been intended for a Boarding School. It is evident that 
Blundell meant that the Master should keep his Wood-yard well stocked, 
and that the Boarders, whether fifty or a hundred should in the cold 
winter evenings con over their books in this great chimney corner 
whilst those who might be incommoded for want of room should make 
themselves comfortable in the oven ! Blundell, who was a man of the 
kindest heart, thus provided for the comforts of the Foreigners both up 
stairs and down ; although I wonder how the Master who was cautioned 
against ' seeking or enacting any more, either of parents or children " 
could manage out of this .50 a year to keep either the chimney smoking, 
or the oven heated. 

Oh ! my dear Sir, if Blundell had at first as many grateful sons pour- 
ing in from all parts of Devon and Dorset, and Somerset and Cornwall, 
as there have been since our recollection, and if those sons, sticking up 
for their rights, paid nothing from year to year, but used this as " a 
Free-school and not a school of exaction," eating of the fattest, and 
drinking of the strongest, and all at free cost, I am sadly afraid the 
Master must have wished the "great fair Chimney " considerably 
lessened, and the Oven stoppe 1 up altogether. The Usher must in those 
days have had the best of it, for having " one chamber to himself only," 
his Boarders (since the Master had some, of course, the man must also 1 , 
were no doubt made free of the aforesaid Chimney and Oven, and in fact 
permitted to eat, drink, and sleep, in commonalty with the others ; he, 
on his part fetching water and chopping wood occasionally, or perhaps 
making up the dough, or putting in the batch, with all the perquisites 
of cookery in nattering perspection. 

Again, as to the Gardens, the large extensive Gardens you, as "the 
erudite expounder of Blundell's Will " are perfectly at a loss to imagine 
how they should be deemed necessary for the Master's family alone ; 
and so am I ; and so must any man in his senses. No. No It's as 
clear as noonday that Blundell or Popham intended the Gardens for the 
Foreigners also! He wished their bee-hive condition indoors of an 
evening to be agreeably contrasted by a run in the Gardens to stretch 
their limbs of a morning, here to crop a flower, or there to pluck a 
gooseberry ; to-day to taste a plum, to-morrow to take a peep at the 
apricots, and next day to cull the choicest product of the vine, so that 
having improved their acquaintance with these natural objects of taste, 
they might go back to school with a greater relish for latin and greek, 
and whilst luxuriating in their Chimney accommodations or Chamber 
enjoyments, learn to despise and contemn those poor unlucky ones who 
were shut out by the "strong gate" of the inexorable donor from a 
participation in all or any of the inestimable rights and privileges. 
.... As it is understood that the Feoff ees have now a surplus income of 
about oOO a year, how can they commence the application of it better 
than by papering the school-room, and ordering a new Turkey Carpet 
for the Green ! 

I must, in conclusion, also congratulate you on the capital style in 
which you have come over the Tradesmen. You see there is a public 
meeting called abouj this school, I and you will go together, and if 
you can only make your paper good, and get the meeting to believe that 
these " families " (like the one of seven gratis-coloured sons) " that have 
made Tiverton their residence for the sake of the benefits to be derived," 
should not be allowed to send their children as d >y scholars, insomuch as 
they arc not Foreigners (for we have clearly shewn that all Foreigners 
are Boarders !) we shall then succeed in ousting these families alto- 
gether, and increasing the number of Boarders, which is, you know, our 
paramount object, and indeed all we wish to do. Now would'nt this be 
a capital thing for the Tradesmen ? See what a deal more money is 


spent by 70 or 80 Boys at the School, than there is by the same number 
of families resident here ! Can any one in his sober senses believe but 
what the custom of a little hobbledehoy for skipping ropes and penny 
whistles is much more valuable than that of his father and mother, his 
brothers and sisters ? To be sure it is. Our Salvation rests on the 
Boarders. They shall hound away all the Day-boys, leer at the Master, 
quiz the Usher, bamboozle the Porter, thrash the Tailor, chaunt " God 
save the Queen .'" till all's blue, and write to her Majesty again for a 
fortnight's longer holiday ! 

I am, with all due deference, yours devotedly, 

*Query. GREAT FOOL 1 Printer's Devil. 

The best rejoinder to this manifesto is an eloquent speech by 
the Key. H. F. Yeatman, who presided afc a dinner of the Old 
Boys the last which was held for many years in 1850. There 
is a fine old-fashioned flavour about it, like that of crusted wine, 
doubtless part of the repast ; and though a few symptoms betray 
themselves of conscious worth, these may easily be forgiven to an 
upright English gentleman, grieving over the destruction of his 
ideals, but constant even in defeat : 

I rise to propose a Toast which must be considered to be, beyond all 
doubt, the toast of the evening ; and especially because that toast is con- 
nected with the great object of our meeting in this place, that object 
being to do homage to the Memory of our Immortal Founder, the 
illustrious " Peter Blundell," (Loud cheers). In offering to you that 
toast I confess that I address you under feelings of considerable 
depression, and of great and unconcealed embarassment, for I do not 
perceive the usual array of those who, in happier times and bygone 
years, attended in this place 

" To smell the triumph, and partake the gale " 

when all was peace, prosperity and repose ; nor can i recite to you the 
nattering annunciations of additional Honors, greater than those of " the 
olden time" conferred upon the existing race of Blundell's Scholars 
assembled within his walls, or of numbers increasing to an extent 
sufficient to prove or shew that the great object of our Noble Founder 
has been happily accomplished ! You, Gentlemen, are aware of the effect 
produced by the stern and mistaken decree of tho late Vice -Chancellor of 
England a decree which I fearlessly proclaim to have been in oppo- 
sition to the letter and the spirit of Peter Blundell's will : at all events, 
most certainly in opposition to the external evidence of this case, which 
had not been attended to, and considered as it ought to have been, prior 
to the judgment given. (Cheers). It has been decided forsooth, that 
Boarders shall no longer be received within the walls of Blundell's 
School, although the Will of that Good iM an declares, that "Foreigners," 
(wliich means " the sons of persons not born or before six years of age 
brought up in the town of Tiverton,") shall be admitted to the School, 
and of course admitted to equal right-!, if and provided one hundred and 
fifty Boys cannot be found duly qualified for admission to the School, 
who are born or have been brought up within the Town of Tiverton, and 
are the sons of parents domiciled in this town. Where then are these 
Foreigners to reside except within the walls ? Where are they to sleep, 
except in the dormitories of the school, which were laid out and erected 
on the Old Foundation 246 years ago ? erected too, immediately from 
and after the death of our illustrious Founder ; thus shewing the long 
persoriptive use, and the right of admission, so far as Boarders are con- 


cerned, from 1604, down to the date of the Decree which I complain of, 
and which about five years ago degraded this school to the level of a 
Charity School by the exclusion of these boarders. (Cheering). And 
here, Gentlemen, I beg to ask, in favour of the trustees of Blunder's 
School, (who, be it observed, have acted only in accordance with 
immemorial or accustomed usage,) who was the expositor of Blundell's 
Will ? Who approved of the Ground Plans and Elevations of the 
present School, including Dormitories for Boarders, and a Banquet Room 
for meals ? Who but Lord Chief Justice Popham, who lived at the 
abosre distant period, a man of great Legal Learning : a bosom friend of 
Peter Blundell -a Man who is styled in the Will of that Good Man nnd 
termed " his right dear and honourable Friend," and who I presume must 
have been as good an expositor of the wishes and intentions of Peter 
Blundell, as the Vice-Chancellor of England in 1846, who undertook the 
office of Expositor just 245 years after the death of our Illustrious 
Founder (Loud and continued cheers). I do not pause for the purpose 
of shewing that our opponents are alarmed at the effect produced by 
the operation of this Decree, as I could easily do ; that the Tradesmen of 
this town, who were so clamorous for litigation, are now mourning the 
loss of Thousands per annum expended by these boarders in prouder and 
happier days, in the shops of the town of Tiverton ; nor do I advert to 
the great mass of evidence which we still possess, and shall hereafter use 
when the proper period arrives, for the purpose of causing a recon- 
sideration of the erroneous Decree of which all, without exception, 
(Respondents and Appellants,) are undoubtedly complaining. But I 
pass on to smooth and soften the surprise of those who seem amazed 
that in these days of so-called Liberality, persons should be found calling 
on a Judicial Tribunal to narrow and contract the opening hand of 
generous and expanded charity to shut close the wide-opening doors of 
our Illustrious Founder to " hide under a bushel" the burning lights of 
ingenuous education, and to throw back the suppliants who ask for 
permission to slake their thirst at our Castalian springs, and who dam 
them up, so as to prevent them from irrigating the barren land ! (Loud 
cheers). This surprise, Gentlemen, might be natural, but it argues a 
sad ignorance of the weakness of human nature. Let us open the page 
of History for a moment of History which has been termed " The 
Philosophy of Experience," and what is it that we read ? Is it not there 
recorded, that in all ages of the World Men have been found of a rest- 
less and impatient spirit. Men of little minds, of contracted under- 
standings or ungenerous dispositions, whose object has been to pull down 
the '' Powers and Principalities " of the World, and to undermine the 
Institutions and Establishments of Society ; I say to pull them down to 
the humble level on which they themselves are placed " to fret their 
little hour upon the stage of life," and to bury them in that " lower deep" 
in which they themselves are doomed to struggle, apart from Mightier 
Spirits Spirits of a refined and exquisite construction ; of minds united 
to lofty and grand conceptions, and whose hearts beat in unison with 
the wants, the requirements, and necessities of their weaker fellow 
creatures ! (Continued cheers). I say. Gentlemen, that in all ages of 
the world and in the darker periods of our history such things have 
been and will be again, until the time shall come when the mellow 
influence of Religious feeling and Education shall soften and subdue the 
soul, and drive away its weaker and more sordid propensities ; and till 
the blessed moment shall arrive when God's purifying grace shall elevate 
the human heart and cleanse ifc of its weakening passions, and make us 
more alive to the Christian duties of forgiveness and of love ; and to all 
the generosities of a spiritualised and exalted disposition : remembering 
(as we desire it to be remembered) that the sons of Blundell are ready 
and ever have been to extend the hand of fellowship to those who are 


disposed to reverence Ms name, and to carry out to their fullest possibl 6 
extent, the views and wishes of that distinguished Philanthropist: that 
we desire to exchange the CYPRESS for the OLIVE BRANCH, and to effect 
an honourable adjustment of existing differences and misunderstandings 
believing and knowing as I do, that precedents can be produced from 
the Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, (many of which are now in my 
possession), sufficient to shew that the Scholarships and Exhibitions of 
this School have been awarded strictly in unison with those precedents ; 
that for the time to come the objects of our great Founder, and the 
interests of this town (which were the especial objects of our Founder's 
regard) can only be promoted by a reconciliation based on mutual and 
wise concessions, and believing also, that the time is hastening on when 
every son of Blundell, and every inhabitant of the West of England 
will be found rising as one Man to demand a reversal of that suicidal 
decree which has turned the tide of victory on the part of our opponents 
into any thing but that " Flood" which " leads an to fortune " which has 
turned their ovation ' ' into mourning^ lamentation and woe" and " made 
their Diviners Mad ; " and when the mistaken inhabitants of the town 
of Tiverton, above all, will be seen striving to do homage to the exalted 
name of Blundell ; a name which they can celebrate with truthful 
praise as having been, and being to them especially 

" Clarwm et veneraMle Nomen, 

Multum quod nobis, et nostrts profuit UrM!" 

With these sentiments I have the honour to propose to you the 

The immediate effect of the Vice-Chancellor's decree was to 
reduce the number of scholars by one-half. Tears afterwards, 
when the School had recovered a good deal of its ancient prestige, 
the .Rev. J . B. Hughes, the then Head-master, at a compli- 
mentary banquet to the present Bishop of London, referred to 
the condition of things in 1848 and after. He said : " It may, 
and I hope, will be interesting to you, if I briefly sketch the 
history of the school during the last 20 years. I will then, by 
your leave, put back the clock for 20 years and ask you to enter 
this room on the first school day after the Boarders were swept 
away. It was a cold February morning : a more dreary sight I 
never witnessed. In this spacious room were scattered 17 boys 
rari nantes. A large number soon arrived for whom a commer- 
cial education was better suited than what we had to offer 
there were no funds for modern masters then : they soon left us, 
another class succeeded, and the school would probably have 
risen in numbers and importance had not the consent for 
admission been refused to any foreigners likely to do credit 
to us. This was a terrible difficulty. At length it was sur- 
mounted, and boys were coming to us from various quarters, but 
I was left practically single-handed to teach them. Acting, 
however, upon a permissive hint of the rev. Chairman, I obtained 
on my own risk, and I am proud to recollect I did so obtain, the 
aid of an assistant master, Ilev. E. Duckworth, who has been with 
us, 1 am glad to say, ever since. Our numbers increased. The 
great difficulty now was where to board them. Another and a 


more profitable course was open to me, but I felt it was my 
bounden duty to set aside all personal considerations, and for the 
sake of the school to improve the position of a valuable master, 
and so retain his services. Accordingly, I counselled Mr. Duck- 
worth to open a boarding-house, and it is a source of satisfaction 
to me that I then and ever since exerted every influence I 
possessed to fill it and keep it full. The result, I rejoice to know, 
has not been disadvantageous to himself, while his house has been 
a kind of seed-plot to the school and has retained among us one 
whose power as a teacher of Mathematics I have never ceased to 
acknowledge at home and abroad." Mr. Duckworth's connection 
with Blundell's School extended over a term of 25 years, and 
terminated in 1879, when he resigned in consequence of the 
changes involved in the removal of the School to Horsdon. He 
then conducted a private school in Tiverton until 1882, and in 
that year he removed to Weston-super-Mare, where he died in 
December, 1887, at the age of 59. The testimony of his 
contemporaries is that he was a born teacher, having a perfect 
knowledge of his subjects and a singular capacity for imparting 
that knowledge to others. 

In 1847 there were serious food riots at Tiverton. On Friday, 
the 29th of April, rumours were circulated of an intended meet- 
ing of the operatives of the town on the evening of that day, and 
imperfect reports having arrived of disturbances at Exeter 
and Cullompton, some excitement was manifested. By eight 
o'clock several groups had collected, consisting principally of 
boys, near Lowman Bridge, but to all appearance they had no 
specific object or nefarious purpose in view. After they had 
thus loitered for half an hour, a bell was procured and one of the 
mob gave notice that the meeting was adjourned to the following 
night, when the bakers, millers, and corn dealers were politely 
requested to attend. The few men present, followed by a troop 
of boys and women, then proceeded through the streets, reading at 
intervals the above announcement. As the evening grew darker, 
the mob waxed bolder ; and, as each baker's shop was passed, a 
furious yell was uttered, accompanied by a shower of stones. 
Scarcely a baker's window was left untouched. At nine o'clock 
a cry was raised that they should proceed to Mr. Chappie's, 
Gornhay, he being supposed to have a large stock of wheat. On 
their way thither, the mob attacked the shop of Mrs. Dinham, an 
aged widow, breaking the glass and carrying off the " penny 
puddings " and other eatables in triumph. With the prestige of 
victory attached to them they arrived at Gornhay, the residence 
of Mr. Chappie, about a mile and a half from the town. They 
commenced operations by demolishing the windows, but the 
discharge of a fowling-piece and the attack of a couple of 
ferocious dogs having cooled their ardour, they listened to the 
remonstrances of some gentlemen from Tiverton and returned 


home. Having gratified themselves with a few more yells they 
dispersed. On Saturday a large number of special constables were 
sworn in, and in the afternoon the Tiverton troop of Yeomanry 
arrived. No disturbance of any note occurred until the following 
Tuesday. At noon on that day about two hundred men employed 
on the Tiverton branch railway entered the town and marched 
through the streets to the market-place, but without committing 
any acts of violence. The result was an immediate panic. The 
butchers packed up or hid their meat, tradesmen closed their 
shops, and all business was suspended. The police were 
instantly on the alert. The special constables were 
assembled, and the Mayor and magistrates, having placed them- 
selves at their head, commanded the " navvies " to leave the town. 
They appeared indisposed to comply, and one fellow, who seemed 
to be the ringleader, was taken into custody. The rest, after a 
little hesitation, returned by the same way they had entered, 
closely followed by the police and special constables, who seized 
and compelled any stragglers to join the main body. They were 
thus marched outside the turnpike gate looking very discon- 
certed. A number of large sticks were taken from them, and 
there is no doubt that they came with the intention of creating 
a disturbance. Late in the afternoon, tidings arrived that the 
expelled " navvies " were stopping the people on their way 
home from market, and the Yeomanry being now ready for action, 
they started for what was expected to be a field of battle. In 
about two hours they returned, not having been able to find the 
enemy, who had fled upon hearing the " sodgers " were coming. 
It was, however, currently reported that blood was shed on the 
occasion, a gallant trooper having pricked with his sword one of 
the flying foe who was escaping over a hedge. Another incident 
in connection with these riots concerned a farmer, named Gill, of 
Bickleigh. It was the general belief among the poorer classes that 
the high price of provisions was the result, not of any scarcity of 
grain, but of unprincipled speculation. The farmers, it was sup- 
posed, were hoarding up their corn in order to obtain famine 
prices for it, and the story having gone the rounds that Gill was 
selling wheat which was unfit for human consumption, at 8s. 6d. 
a bushel, the utmost indignation was expressed. A number of 
people attacked the farmer, threw about his grain, and would 
have inflicted serious injuries upon him, if he had not taken 
refuge in an inn, where' he was protected from his assailants. He 
was compelled to remain there for several hours, and when he 
emerged to go home, he was guarded by policemen. In 
the meantime a meeting was held in the Town-hall " for the 
purpose of devising the best means of alleviating the prevailing 
distress, arising from the present unusual high price of provisions." 
There was a large attendance, the Mayor, Mr. J. W. T. Tucker, 
being in the chair. The greatest sympathy for their destitute 


fellow-townsmen pervaded the meeting and generous donations 
were made, upwards of .550 being subscribed in the Hall. 

In 1848 a Public Health Act was passed, and in the follow- 
ing year a petition was presented to the General Board of Health, 
signed by two hundred and sixty of the inhabitants of Tiverton, 
including the professional men and principal shop-keepers, who 
desired that the provisions of the Act should be applied to the 
borough. In consequence of this appeal Mr. T. W. Rammell, 
Superintending Inspector, commenced an enquiry on the 26th of 
November, 1850, at the Town Hall, which lasted till the 2nd of 
December ; and he also made a tour of inspection through the 
town, the inhabitants having been certified of his intention by a 
printed circular issued by the Mayor. The results of this enquiry 
were embodied in a rather bulky pamphlet of 70 pp, which is full 
of instructive matter as to the sanitary conditions then obtaining. 
Among other statements occurs this interesting note : " The 
back parts of the town consist, for the most part, of courts, 
entered by covered ways from the streets, and not being 
thoroughfares. The dwellings which they contain have, in the 
great majority of cases, no back-door or through ventilation. 
The evil effects of this arrangement of the habitations of the 
poorer classes may be readily conceived. It appears that this 
system of building grew out of the requirements of the old staple 
manufacture of the place. The master-manufacturer surround ed 
his residence with the dwellings and workshops of the artisans in 
his employ, leaving a centre court, or square, for the purpose of 
carrying on the process called ' warping the chains ' which is 
necessarily performed in the open air. As the woollen manu- 
facture declined, and these courts passed into other hands, the 
weaving shops became entirely converted into dwelling houses. 
The increase of the town of late years, which has been very 
considerable, has been accomplished almost entirely by filling up 
the vacant spaces in these courts." The Inspector concluded 
with the recommendation that an order should be made by the 
Honourable Board for applying the provisions of the Public 
Health Act to the Borough of Tiverton. The proposal was vie wed 
with the greatest possible disfavour by a large section of the 
inhabitants, who, moreover, disputed the accuracy of many of the 
Inspector's statements. As the average person may be at a loss 
to conceive what objection could be taken to the application of so 
salutary a measure as the Public Health Act, it may be well to 
instance some of the apprehensions entertained concerning it. It 
was supposed that the Town Leat would be covered up and 
diverted altogether to purposes of house drainage ; that the cost 
of the sanitary improvements under the Act would be fabulous : 
that the local board would be overridden by the General Board of 
Health, who would interfere, in a grandmotherly sort of way 
even in the most trifling concerns. It was maintained also that 


the agitation in favour of the scheme was an interested one, 
having originated with the medical men of the town, who 
expected to find employment under the Act ; that already the 
Improvement Commissioners possessed the necessary powers for 
raising funds and constructing scientific drains ; and, lastly, that 
if the Inspector's report, depicting such an awful state of things, 
was suffered to go forth without any attempt to contradict it, 
a world of harm might be done to the town by frightening away 
strangers who would otherwise have been disposed to settle 
here. Accordingly on Wednesday, the 10th of June, 1851, a 
general meeting of the ratepayers was held at the Town H all, and 
an emphatic protest was drawn up and forwarded to the Honour- 
able the Commissioners of the General Board of Health. A 
counter petition was signed by the original promoters of the 
scheme and their supporters ; but it does not appear that any 
Order in Council was made for the application of the Act to 
Tiverton. When the Act of 1848 was superseded by that of 1875, 
the principle of " local option " was discarded, and the Act, being 
made of universal application, as a matter of course took effect in 

The beneficent institution now known as the Tiverton 
Infirmary and Dispensary had its humble beginning about this 
time. The Dispensary was established at Kiddell's Court, 
Tiverton, in the year 1852 for out-patients only, mainly through 
the exertions of Dr. James Bennett Clutterbuck, for the relief of 
the sick poor who were not in receipt of parochial relief, Here, 
during a period of 16 years, no less than 7,090 persons were 
treated as out-patients. In 1865, through the generosity of 
Mrs. Caroline Brewin, premises in Bampton-street were purchased, 
and by means of a Building Fund, which was raised by private 
subscription, additional wards were built, and the whole con- 
verted into an Infirmary for the reception of patients, to avoid 
the long journey to Exeter Hospital.* In 1891 the Institution 
was enlarged by the annexation of the adjoining house at a 
cost of 550, the purchase-money being generously given by 
Mr. Henry Septimus Gill, J.P. The buildings comprise a male 
(John Heathcoat) ward, a female (Caroline Brewin) ward, a chil- 
dren's ward arid an isolation room, containing 18 beds altogether ; 
receiving, operating and out-patients' rooms ; a dispensary store 
and bath-room, and accommodation for a resident House Surgeon 

* The chief donations and bequests are the following : 1867, Mrs. 
Caroline Brewin, 1,250 ; Sir John H. Heathcoat- Amory, Bart. 250 ; 
Thomas Hallam, Esq., 120 ; Miss Eloisa Heathcoat, 800 ; The Right 
Hon. Viscount Palmerston, 100. 1869, Miss Sarah Cartwright, 100; 
1872, John G-ooding Phillips, Esq., 100; 1877, Mrs. Elizabeth Hole,180; 
Miss Elizabeth Gibbs, 100; 1831, Miss Mary Dunsford, 100; 1882, 
Edward Hallam, Esq., 100; 1885, Mr. John Hatswell, 500; 1887, Mr. 
John Lane, 100. 


and Matron, and nursing and domestic staff. The Infirmary 
received its first in-patient in February, 1868. An Endowment 
Fund was commenced in 1865, which has slowly increased by 
bequests and donations, and now exceeds .5,000 ; the income 
from the endowment, however, is not sufficient to pay the wages 
and salaries of the indoor staff. For the remaind er of the 
working expenses the Institution is dependent on voluntary 
contributions. In 1882 the Committee decided to admit at their 
discretion severe surgical and medical cases, or cases requiring 
operations, as in-patients. In 1889 they instituted a separate 
fund for the supply of trusses, and added to the Infirmary 
buildings, a mortuary which has since been made available for 
public purposes. With these additions the institution is 
conducted upon its original lines, and the number of patients 
treated, steadily increases each year. Its services are given 
without charge of any kind. The late Mr. John Heathcoat was 
President of the Institution from its commencement until his 
death in I860, when he was succeeded by his grandson. Sir John 
Heathcoat Heathcoat-Amory, Bart., the present President. 
The rules of the Institution, drawn up in 1852, were revised and 
amended in 1867, 1874, and in 1890. 

In 1853 a vacancy occurred in the office of Vestry Clerk. I 
am not aware that any serious interests were at stake, but the 
question of succession to the post caused some excitement in the 
town and produced the following " squibs." 



July's bright month has past his prime, 
When that which I will put in rhyme, 

Transpir'd to human view. 
The incidents I'll briefly state, 
And, as 'tis facts that I relate, 

Attention give thereto, 

A Parish Office chanced to be 
In which " appeared " a vacancy 

To his half -clouded mind : 
He look'd again, and found 'twas so, 
And then his Tender in did go, 

And thus far him we find. 

Resolv'd to make appointment sure, 
A thousand bills, or maybe more, 

Were handed through the town, 
But not yet certain of success, 

He treats his friends, now growing less, 

To " Baccy " and Nut Brown. 


He, having wetted these right well, 
Thought his opponents now to quell 

And from them all be freed : 
So, thinking of no other plan, 
He socn the " Squibbing " dodge began, 

And Squibbing 'twas indeed. 

For when an author has no wit, 
Then what he writes can't have a bit, 

And thus 'twas with our friend : 
Address and Squib were both the same, 
In point of style as poor and lame 

As ever school-boy penn'd. 

But passing on, to next relate 

The sad, the hopeless, hapless fate 

Which raised a heavy sigh 
What disappointment must have been, 
To find the Tender he sent in 

Just Twenty Pounds too high ! 

How sorely now did he repent 
The Beer and Baccy he had spent, 

The Office to have won ! 
Quite undecided how to act 
He asks his friend " the TIGER JACK," 

Who says, " My boy, you're done." 

"And that I am," our friend replies, 
" But what, old chap, would you advise 

With luck, so awful poor ?" 
" I should ad vise you to withdraw, 
For all your Irish* friends well know 

That two and two make four. 

" We'll tell them Twenty Pounds is nought 
To have the work done as it ought, 

We'll do the job just so I 
1 say, old chap, we'll gull them all," 
" And if we don't then to the wall " 

Says Jack, " you surely go." 

All words that I could add to these, 
Would merely prove redundancies, 

And so I'll finish up 
With an old proverb, which is " that 
There's many a slip will surely hap 

Betwixt the lip and cup." 


W. I say, Jack, some of the Tivertonians put down that Squib, which 

came out last night as my composition. 
J. So I hear Some one suggested that it was like your Address, 

deuced nonsensical and ungrammatical. 

* A term applied colloquially to the residents in Westexe Ward. 


W. What's that to do with me ? I don't and never did care a d for 

Lindley Murray. But, old fellow, how do you think I stand 
about the Vestry Clerk ? 

J. Well, I guess 'twill be no go. What votes can you rely on ? 

W. Only on the Irish, with any certainty, they know little, and care 
less, about my blundering in parish cases ; and as to my statement 
that they have a will of their own, that, of course, is all 
gammon, for I can buy as many as I like for a pint of Swipes 
and a penn'oth of Baccy a-piece. I stuck it into 'em the other 
night at " Farmer's," and got jolly fuddled myself upon heavy 

J. All right, old fellow, so far : but here, how about the Farmers and 
Tradesmen ? 

W. There's my weak point ; and the devil of it is, Jack, that it takes 
half-a-dozen of my "independent" Irish constituents to weigh 
down a farmer of any importance. Besides the latter, unfortunately 
for me, know a little too much about a case or two, now and 
then, not exactly " all serene." 

J. So I was afraid ; and as to the gentry, they, of course, won't support 
you. I s'pose, however, that as your tender is the lowest, they 
are bound to accept it. 

W. No, hang it, " WOODBUBY Pious " is below me ! If he had not 
been, I should, of course, have stood to that text. But as he is, 
I must now turn tail and insist that the lowest tender must not 
be accepted. 

J. Hem ! that's consistent, with a hook. However, I s'pose, like a 
Roman Catholic, you think " that the end justifies the means.' 

W. That's it, and a happy thought, too, Jack ; that's the best excuse I 
ever had made for my " goings on. " 

J. You don't care much, then, for Gentleman Dick ? 

W. Not I I he carries some weight, but I hear he wants his bread and 
butter treakled. I say, Jack, had he been under me, what a dig 
I would have had at him. But I must be off now to my darling 
Irishmen and keep them straight, for if they should spring a 
leak it's all U-P with me. 

7. Couldn't you try a little Grog ? 

W. That's too expensive, and don't go far enough. No, I must stick to 
Beer and Baccy, and with a little management I may do after 
all, but, if I should lose, I'll come out magnificent in the 
Western Times, as I did once before when I was dead beat. 

(Exit both) the WITCH JONES muttering something about sort or 
description kind manner form: but what he was speaking about 
we could not catch. 

In June, 1853, was begun the ever-memorable restoration 
of St. Peter's Church which occupied three whole years. 
Evidently this was not a work of supererogation. The buttresses 
which form a distinguishing feature of the tower, were so injured 
by the effects of time and weather that the stones had crumbled 
away to the face of the walls, in fact, no buttresses were left in 
the upper stages. The gargoyles and figures on the set-offs, the 
stringcourses and the stone-work of the windows were broken 
aiid imperfect, the battlements and pinnacles were patched up 


with cement and mortar, and the pointing had entirely disappeared 
from the walls. 

The whole exterior of the Church was in a ruinous condition. 
The walls were considerably out of the perpendicular, and settle- 
ments appeared in all directions. The north wall was entirely 
supported by two enormous buttresses, erected at the close of the 
previous century. Parapets and battlements were so shattered 
that it was dangerous to walk under them in stormy weather. The 
lower portion of the clerestory buttresses was worn away by the 
rain water which flowed around them. The wall of the south 
aisle was rent in many parts. The arches, mullions, and tracery 
of the windows throughout the church were split and dislocated, 
and the glass, where it remained, was of the cheapest and coarsest 
description. The vestry thrust itself into the churchyard, a 
square unmeaning erection of irregular and imperfect stone-work. 
The chancel was even worse than the vestry. 

If the exterior was bad the interior was in a still more disgrace- 
ful condition. The roof timbers of the north aisle, south aisle, 
nave, and chancel, though perseveringly scarfed, were so much 
decayed that many cartloads of dust fell from them when they 
were removed, and they had subsided to such an extent that the 
lead had fallen with them, and the rain water stood in pools 
many inches deep. These roofs were concealed by a kind of 
plaster groining, varied towards the west of the two aisles by a 
Doric ceiling likewise in plaster. The piers and pier-arches having 
been examined by the County Surveyor of Somerset, were found 
to have deflected about eleven inches, and the materials were so 
rotten and imperfect that it was unsafe to rebuild the clerestory 
upon them : the foundations consisted of merely a few stones 
loosely thrown into a hole. The organ stood on a hideous gallery 
blocking up the tower arch. Another gallery over part of 
the chancel drowned the voice of the clergyman when 
ministering at the altar. A third in the north and a fourth in 
the south aisle completed the cardinal points of gallery worship. 
The pews were about 4 feet 6 inches high. The pulpit was an 
unsightly wooden encumbrance from which the preacher spoke 
into a huge chandelier suspended from the roof. The pavement 
of the avenue was broken and uneven. The east window of the 
chancel was blocked up by wood-work and a picture. The worm- 
eaten altar-table was covered with a velvet cloth, on the front of 
which the names of two churchwardens were worked in yellow 

With the exception of the Tower, Greenway's Porch and 
Chapel.* a small portion of the south aisle, and the piers and 
arches of the chancel, the Church was entirely re-built. The 
buttresses of the tower were recased with Thorverton trap. The 

* Greenway's Chapel and Porch had been restored in 1836. 


sculptured figures on the set-offs, the gargoyles, windows, 
doorway, niches, stringcourses, battlements and pinnacles, all of 
Hamdon Hole stone, were renewed and the walls pointed 
throughout. The north aisle was extended to double its former 
width, and an organ chamber thrown out to correspond with 
Greenway's Chapel in the south aisle. It was intended that the 
organ, enlarged by Mr. Dicker, of Exeter, should have been 
divided and erected at the east and west end of the chamber ; 
but affection for the old case and perhaps lack of funds, prevented 
this being carried into effect ; and it was placed in the centre of 
the chamber, thus concealing the lower portion of the windows 
and spoiling the effect of this part of the building. Adjoining the 
organ-chamber is the vestry. The Norman doorway of the north 
aisle was most carefully restored. The roofs of the nave, aisles, 
and chancel were renewed, being all of English oak. They may be 
considered deficient in the ornate character of the Perpendicular 
style ; nevertheless, they are at once simple and effective. The 
roof of the south aisle was copied from the artistic but decayed 
portions of the original construction. A casing of deal was placed 
obliquely above the oak boarding to prevent the lead being 
affected by the acids contained in the oak. The roofs are 
surrounded by battlements and parapets of Bath stone, which 
though they are plain in their surfaces, give a dignified character 
to the edifice. The new piers and arches of the nave with their 
niches supported by angels, the corbel heads and sculptured 
devices, both within and without the church, as well as the 
pinnacles and other work in Farley Down and Caen stone, were 
supplied by Mr. Parish, stonemason, of Tiverton, and do him the 
utmost credit. The carving, which is extremely bold and good, 
was executed by Mr. Jackman, of Teignmouth. The windows of 
the north aisle, clerestory, that at the west of the south aisle, as 
well as those of the chancel, are new, and are very justly admired. 
The walls of the chancel were rebuilt and raised. The screen, 
which it was found impossible to restore, was removed, with the 
exception of the lower portion which was surmounted with a 
cresting of scroll-work in brass, and formed a line of demarcation 
between the chancel and nave.* A part of this screen is now, I 
am informed, in Holcombe Bogus Church. 

The parcldse was restored as far as was practicable. The 
reredos and floor were formed of Minton's tiles : the Holy Table 
was reconstructed, and a beautiful altar-cloth was presented by 
P. N. Hoare, Esq., of Luscombe Park. Through the munificence 
of the Eev. W. Jiayer, rector of Tidcombe Portion, a handsome 

* The remains of the Screen were removed in 1886, and with them 
the seats in the Chancel appropriated to the three Rectors and the 
Curate of Prior's Portion. Before this change was made, a seat was 
provided for a man-servant, in the case of each clergyman, immediately 
behind that of his master. 


seat was prorided for the non-officiating clergy in the nave ; and 
a pulpit of Caen stone was placed at the eastern pier on the north 
side of the nave. (It has since been changed to the south). An 
appropriate reading-desk was offered to the committee, but the 
clergy and others objected to it on the ground that it faced north 
and west ; and a meagre box facing the west was substituted for 
it. This has since been removed, to make way for a handsome 
brass lectern, presented by the Bev. Michael Thorne. - 

All the galleries were removed, and the largest and most 
dilapidated monuments were placed in the Tower. The windows, 
except those of the Chancel and Tower, were filled with cathedral 
and ground glass, in diamond quarries. In a brief notice of this 
kii d it would be impossible to go over all the changes in detail. 
Suffice it to say that the principle which guided the committee 
was to abstain from unnecessary ornamentation and to render 
the material fabric, with which alone they were concerned, in all 
its parts solid and durable. 

The Church was re-opened on the 26th of June, 1856. The 
Bishop of Exeter had hoped to attend and preach on the occasion, 
but was obliged to forego his intention by other important calls of 
public duty. At sunrise the bells of the old tower spoke their 
welcome to those who were preparing to take a part in the 
services of the day. At 11 o'clock a large number of the clergy 
of the diocese met the Mayor and Town Council of the Borough 
in the Town Hall, and walked in procession with the Architect, 
Contractors, Masons, Carpenters, and the Building Committee to 
the west entrance of the Church, where they were received by the 
Churchwardens of the Parish. The Church was filled in every 
part, and it is supposed that nearly three thousand persons were 
present. Morning prayer was said by the Bev. J. J. Manley, 
Curate of Tidcombe Portion. The sermon was preached by the 
Hon. and Bev. C. L. Courtenay, who also read the Communion 
service, assisted by the Rev. W. Bayer, and his two curates. A 
collection was made in aid of the Building Fund while the offertory 
sentences were read, and nearly a hundred and sixty of the 
congregation remained to take part in the sacrament. After the 
service sacred music was performed on the organ by Mr. Reay, 
the late, and Mr. Bice, the then organist, who also conducted the 
musical parts of the service, ably assisted by a choir selected from 
the Exeter and Tiverton Oratorio Societies. 

At two o'clock a dinner was given to the workmen employed 
on the Church and to the inmates of the various almshouses of 
the town. At three o'clock there was a public luncheon in the 
Athenaeum, at which Thomas Daniel, Esq., presided. At five 
o'clock tea and cakes were provided for the children of the 
National and Blue Coat Schools. The Evening Service, at half- 
past six, was attended by a large congregation. After the sermon, 
which was preached by the Bev. Dr. Wilkinson, Vicar of West 


Lavington and late Master of Marlborough College, a collection 
was made, which, with the sum contributed in the morning, 
amounted to 95. The total cost of the restoration was 
.6,119 7s. 7d. of which 1.200 was raised by a Church 
rate, 3,694 12s. 3d. by voluntary contributions, and the 
remainder in various ways. King's College, Cambridge, gave 
566 13s. 4d. towards the repair of the chancel, and Lord 
Harrowby, one of the patrons, 20. At the time of the 
re-opening there was a deficit of 407 17s. 7d. 

Strange as it may seem, all the stained-glass windows which now 
cast " their dim religious light" on the Church, are of recent origin. 
It is probable that there were painted windows in the building 
previous to the Reformation, and it may be, until the days of the 
Puritans. The soldiers who were engaged in the siege of the 
Castle broke through the windows of St. Peter's in order to 
obtain access to the interior, and it is likely that some of the 
windows were injured by the cannon-shot. Remnants of stained 
glass were still to be seen in the windows before the renovation 
of 1853, but prejudice had existed in the minds of the parishioners 
against this kind of ornamentation, as symbolical of the old 
worship. By this time, however, the feeling had to a great 
extent subsided, and the north and south windows of the chancel 
were filled with simple, but well-designed patterns by Mr. Beer, 
of Exeter. 

A mortuary window was placed in the Tower to the memory 
of John Barne, Esq., under whom, as Churchwarden, the 
restoration of the Church was commenced. The subject chosen 
was very appropriate the Re-building of the Temple and it was 
treated by Mr. Wailes in the most masterly manner. There are 
four lights. In the upper division are four principal figures : 
David holding the ground plan of the first temple ; Solomon, with 
a model of the completed work in his left hand ; Ezra, writing in 
a book ; Nehemiah, supporting a scroll inscribed with the words. 
" The God of Heaven, He will prosper us." Underneath the first 
figure, King David is represented giving to Solomon the plan of 
the Temple ; under the second, Solomon superintending the laying 
of the foundation-stone ; under the next, Ezra receiving from 
Artaxerxes the writing of permission to " beautify the house " ; 
under the last, Nehemiah giving directions to the workmen as the 
building progressed. The tracery is filled with appropriate scrolls 
and devices. Mr. Wailes evidently spared no pains to render the 
window perfect in all its parts ; the drawing is good and the 
colours admirably balanced ; the treatment of the drapery is 
severe and masculine ; altogether it is not unworthy of the best 
times of glass painting. 

The east window of the chancel was given by the Rev. W. 
Rayer, Rector of Tidcombe Portion. It is a mortuary window. 
There are five lights ; in the upper portion of the centre light, 


Our Lord is represented ascending in the cloud which received 
Him out of the Apostles' sight ; beneath are two angels, who 
announced to those who were gazing up into Heaven, that the 
same Jesus Who was taken up into Heaven, should so come in like 
manner as they had seen Him go into Heaven. In the other 
lights are the Apostles in various attitudes of awe and veneration 
and the Blessed Virgin and St. Mary Magdalene. Considerable 
difficulty was felt in adapting an appropriate framework for the 
group. The usual canopies would have been evidently out of place ; 
and the artist has, with most delicate taste, arranged vine stems and 
foliage in such a manner above the Apostles as to form a graceful 
arch, and reaching upwards to twine in vesicas around an angel 
bearing the emblems of the Crucifixion, and higher still, around 
an emblem of one of the Evangelists in each of the side-lights. 
The tracery is filled with the Heavenly Host Michael and Gabriel, 
angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, in adoration, and 
watching Our Lord's ascent. The subject has been so managed 
that although it forms but one picture, no single figure appears 
in two openings. The colouring and arrangement are kept broad 
and effective, and the window does infinite credit to the care and 
talent of the artist, Mr. Wailes. A gentleman has related to 
me a curious incident in connecton with the painting of it. 
Through some inadvertence Our Lord was represented as ascend- 
ing almost nude with a cincture only. This was afterwards 
altered and His figure is now arrayed in the more conventional 
flowing robe. 

The following windows have since been added : South aisle 
In Memory of George Welsh Owen centre light, the Transfigur- 
tion (?) ; sidelights, the four Evangelists, 1864; in Memory of 
Mary Lewis, widow of the above the four greater Prophets, 1867; 
in Memory of W. R. Stone Enoch, Moses, Balaam, Job, 1870; 
in Memory of John Duntze Carew Raising of the son of the 
widow of Nain, 1880 ; in Memory of Thomas James Poole the 
Crucifixion, the Brazen Serpent, Moses Striking the Rock, 
the Baptism of Christ by St. John, 1883 ; in Memory of Sarah 
Thorne the Scourging of our Lord, the Coronation with Thorns, 
Christ bearing the Cross, the Crucifixion, the Deposition, the 
Entombment 1875; North aisle, in Memory of John Spurway the 
Transfiguration, 1882; in Memory of Michael Thorne incidents 
in the life of the Magdalene, the Last Supper, 1 884 ; in Memory 
of Joseph and Mary Thorne St. Peter on the Lake of 
Genesareth, the Impotent Man, Christus Pastor, St. Peter 
receiving the Keys, St. Peter delivered from Prison. The large 
painting in the north aisle, representing the Visit of the Magi, 
was the gift of the Rev. William Hole, and was presented to the 
Church before the Restoration, it is copied from a work of 
Rubens ; the original is, or was, at Antwerp. 
In the winter of 1885 it was seen that ere long the tower would 


require some attention and the dangerous looseness of some of the 
corner stones was alarmingly indicated by the fall of a huire 
boulder within a foot or two of the caretaker of the church, the 
stone striking and bending some iron railings. The matter having 
come under the notice of Mr. R. F. Loosetnore, the churchwarden, 
that gentleman consulted Mr. Hayward, architect, who happened 
to be in the town, and a report from him on the defective state 
of the tower was subsequently submitted to a parish meeting. A 
committee was appointed and in due time procured tenders for the 
renovation of the tower, that of Messrs. Grater, builders, Towns- 
end, for 235 being accepted. An examination of the tower after 
the erection of the scaffolding shewed the fabric to be in a 
condition of decay that was not previously anticipated, and a 
second contract had to be entered into (the first being confined to 
the belfry stage) bringing up the Cfist of the renovation to upwards 
of 500. A lightning conductor also was constructed at an 
additional outlay of 70. The funds were raised partly by a 
bazaar (which realized 360) and partly by subscriptions. In 
1887 the chancel was restored, and other improvements made, at 
a cost of about 550. 

On the 27th October, 1853, twenty ratepayers (being more 
than the requisite number) of the parish addressed a memorial 
to the Churchwardens, stating their opinion that the existing 
burial-grounds were insufficient and dangerous to health (as in 
truth they were), and requesting them to convene a meeting 
of the Vestry for the purpose of determining whether a burial 
ground should be provided for the parish, under the powers and 
provisions of the Act of 16 and 17 Viet. cap. 85, intituled " An 
Act to amend the laws concerning the burial of the dead in the 
Metropolis" and of another Act of 16 and 17 Viet. cap. 134, 
intituled " An Act to amend the laws concerning the burial of 
the dead beyond the limits of the Metropolis and to amend the 
Act concerning the burial of the dead in the Metropolis." In 
consequence of this appeal a meeting of the special vestry was 
held on the 19th December, 1853, when it was decided to appoint 
a Burial Board consisting of nine persons, the first members being 
John Heathcoat, Esq., M.P.. Rev. John Spurway, and Messrs. 
J. S. How, Francis Hole, F. O. Patch, Thomas Haydon, and 
Robert Cook ; with the late Mr. R. Grant Tucker, solicitor, 
as clerk. On the 2nd January in the following year, the 
Burial Board held their first meeting and appointed a sub- 
Committee who were to make enquiries as to a suitable site 
for a burial-ground and report the result at the next meeting. 
On the 4th February, 1854, the sub-Committee recommended, as 
most eligible for a cemetery, a part of Godsbear tenement 
belonging to Sir W. P. Carew and nearly opposite the Bonny's 
Pitt turnpike-gate. Some difficulty was felt in adopting the 
suggestion, as the proposed site was only 3 acres 1 rood and 5 


perches in extent, instead of 4 acres, as originally intended ; and 
Sir W. P. Carew, on being communicated with, replied that he 
could not accept the offer of <160 per acre, as the conversion of 
the ground into a cemetery would injure the remainder of the 
property. On the 15th March, however, it was resolved to fall 
in wit,h the proposals of the sub-Committee and to pay Sir W. 
P. Carew 200 per acre, at which somewhat high price, however, 
it appears there were afterwards difficulties in obtaining sufficient 
land. On the 3rd April, at the meeting of the Vestry, the fol- 
lowing resolution was passed " That a sum not exceeding 2,500 
be authorized to be expended in purchasing ground for the new 
Cemetery and in building walls to enclose the same and erecting 
gates and chapels, with the Sexton's lodge, and the Vestry 
sanctions the same sum being borrowed by the Burial Board from 
the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, unless the same 
sum can be legally borrowed of a private individual at a less rate 
of interest, the same to bear charge on the poor rates of this 
parish and paid with interest as per 20th section of 15 and 16 Viet. 
c 85." At a subsequent meeting it was decided to purchase from 
Sir W. P. Carew, who had already expressed his willingness to 
part with it, about an acre of land on the north of Godsbear, at 
the same rate ; and land to the value of .30 was acquired from 
Mr. Frederick Haydon. On the 28th of November, it was 
resolved to accept the plans for the Chapels, Board-Room, and 
Sexton's Lodge sent by Messrs. Law and Edwards ; but in July, 
1855, objections to them having been discovered, their designs were 
rejected, and Mr. Boyce, architect, of Tiverton, was ordered to 
draw up new specifications. On the 5th April, 1855, the tender 
of Mr. Perkins had been accepted for preparing the site as a burial- 
ground. About the same time the Commissioners of the Treasury 
had agreed to advance the sum of .2,500 required for carrying 
out the operations ; and on the 16th April, these had progressed so 
far that it was resolved that the Clerk should at once write to the 
Bishop of Exeter asking for a license to bury in the part to be 

The Cemetery was opened on the 2nd of June, 1855, about 
which time the clergy of the Established Church obtained a 
license from the Bishop to bury their dead in the portion of 
ground set apart for them. On the 31st October, 1856, this 
license was revoked, but as the document containing the 
revocation was not served until the 5th of November, 1856, the 
clergy continued up to that time to officiate at the burial 
of the dead. There being no wall at the line of demar- 
cation to separate the part intended for consecration from 
the unconsecrated portion of the ground, eight gentlemen 
caused a rule to be moved for in the Court of Queen's 
Bench in Michaelmas Term, 1856, to show cause why a writ of 
mandamus should not issue, directed to the Burial Board com- 


manding them forthwith to "put a portion of the hurial ground 
provided by the said Board, which had been set apart as ground 
to be consecrated for the purpose of interment according to the 
rites of the United Church of England and Ireland, into such a 
state and condition as should render the same fit and proper to 
be consecrated by the Bishop of the diocese for the purpose of 
interment according to the said rites of the said United Church." 
The rule was moved for by Sir Fitzroy ( afterwards Mr. Baron) 
Kelly, with whom was Mr. (afterwards Sir John) Karslake, and was 
granted on the 24th* of November, 1856. We may here remark that 
a meeting of the inhabitants took place on the 4th October, 1856, 
in order that the question might be freely ventilated, and after an 
animated discussion, a resolution was moved by the Rev. H. 
Madgin (Pastor of the Independent Chapel), and seconded by Mr. 
Stephen Hewett, " That the Meeting having heard with much 
regret the vexatious obstacles presented to the completion of the 
public cemetery of this parish by the requirements of the Bishop 
of Exeter, and regarding the separation of the two portions of 
the ground as already more than sufficient, a wide path being in 
their opinion all that is necessary, advises the Burial Board to 
await the provisions of a Bill on the subject, which will be 
brought before Parliament in the ensuing session, and in the 
meantime to agree to no further division of the ground, and that 
the Bishop be requested to continue his license until the question 
is decided by the Imperial Legislature." A second meeting was 
held on the 3rd of November, 1856, for the same purpose, and 
was numerously attended. Some excellent speeches were made 
on the occasion, and at the close it was moved by the Rev. H. 
Madgin, " That the meeting not having heard anything to justify 
alteration, still adhere to the resolution passed on the 4th of 
October and advise the Burial Board to offer a certain portion of 
the cemetery for consecration, on the plea that all the separation 
of the two portions required by Acb of Parliament has been 
effected, and in case of the Bishop's refusal, to wait for the 
decision of the Legislature as proposed in the last session." It 
was moved by the Rev. J, B. Hughes (Head-master of BlundelPs 
School), and seconded by Dr. Paterson, " That the meeting request 
the Burial Board to take such steps as will procure the immediate 
consecration of a certain portion of the cemetery of the parish." 
The resolution and amendment were both put to the meeting, 
and the former was carried by a large majority. We will now 
resume our account of the law proceedings. The rule was 
argued before a full court in Hilary Term, 1857, by Mr. 
Sergeant (afterwards Justice) Byles. Mr. (subsequently Sir John) 
Collier, and Mr. Kinofdon for the Burial Board, and Mr. 
Karslake for the prosecutors. The Court ordered that a man- 
damus should issue in the terms of the rule. The then Chairman of 
the Board, Mr. Robert Were, was served with the original writ 


about the 15th of March. The return of the writ to which the 
defendants pleaded and demurred, was filed in Easter Term. 
In order that ray readers may understand this jargon, I may 
observe that pleas raise disputes as to facts, whereas demurrers 
are to settle questions of law. On the very lasb day in the 
prosecutors' power they served notice of trial for the ensuing 
assizes, whereupon the defendants conceiving that the question 
could be sufficiently determined on the demurrer alone, went 
before a judge to postpone the trial. In consequence, as the 
prosecutors alleged, of the demurrer being insufficient to raise the 
question, the trial took place at the Devon Summer Assizes 
at Exeter in 1857, and ended in a special verdict for the 
Burial Board. It may be remarked, in passing, that this trial 
was a very costly affair, as the defendants found it necessary to 
subpoena witnesses in support of their position. The special 
verdict and demurrer were argued together in Trinity Term, 
1858, and ended in every point being given in favour of the Board. 

The Burial Board having caused such a separation of the 
ground as was necessary, the Bishop consented to consecrate, and 
we will now give an account of the ceremony. His lordship 
arrived at Tiverton on the 6th October, 1858, and was accom- 
panied by the Ven. Archdeacon Bartholomew and Mr. R. Barnes, 
his lordship's secretary. The Bishop was conveyed to the cemetery 
in a carriage belonging to Mr. T. Carew, and several of the clergy 
were in attendance to receive him. His lordship having robed 
proceeded to the chapel- He was preceded by the mace-bearer, 
and the clergy and the Burial Board followed in procession, the 
49th Psalm being read by his lordship and the clergy alternately. 
On the party arriving at the chapel, the Chairman of the Burial 
Board, Mr. E. Were, presented the petition for consecration. 
He said, " My Lord, On behalf of the Burial Board of the 
parish of Tiverton I present this petition for consecration." 
The Bishop replied "I am ready to do as you desire and 
beseech God to bless and prosper the good work we are going 

The Bishop and clergy entered the chapel, and the Ven. 
Archdeacon Bartholomew read the deed of consecration, 
which his lordship signed. His lordship read the form of 
prayer for the consecration of a burial ground, leaving out, 
however, the Lord's prayer, and he then delivered an 
address. He said that it might be in the recollection 
of some that when he was first petitioned to consecrate 
the portion of the Tiverton Cemetery set apart for the use 
of members of the Church of England, he considered it was 
required by the law of the land that there should be a palpable, 
marked line of demarcation, visible to the eye, between the conse- 
crated and unconsecrated portions. Accordingly he declined to con- 
secrate unless there was a wall or other fence of a reasonable height 


he thought if his memory served him right, he named four feet 
between the ground to be consecrated and that set apart for 
other purposes. A different view of the requirements of the 
Legislature was taken by the Burial Board of the parish, and 
consecration was deferred, but through the exertions of certain 
gentlemen, who applied under legal advice to the Court of Queen's 
Bench to obtain a judicial decision on the point, an Act of 
Parliament had been obtained, which set the question finally at 
rest. The Legislature, his lordship continued, had by this Act 
practically confirmed his own views on the subject. That the 
Bishop, the celebrated Dr. Philpotts, should talk in this strain, 
was of course no more than might have been expected ; but the 
truth seems to be that the doughty prelate in his contest with 
the Tiverton Burial Board sustained a decidedly humiliating defeat. 
The bone of contention was the four-feet wall, which was to 
exclude allJews, Turks, heretics, and infidels from the consecrated 
soil ; but that wall either was not erected or was built only to be 
demolished. At present a gravel path and certain boundary 
stones are all that separate the two portions of the cemetery. 

On April 10th, 1854, was laid the foundation stone of St. 
Paul's Church, Westexe, the site having been given by Mr. John 
Heathcoat, M.P. This building consists of a nave, two 
aisles, and a tower. The nave and chancel are 102 feet long by 
22 feet wide, and the aisles 96| feet long by 18 feet wide. 
The height of the tower, including the spire, is 130 feet. The 
church is of the Decorated style of the fourteenth century, and 
was built after a design by Messrs. Manners & Gill, of Bath. 
Mr. Boyce, of Tiverton, superintended the erection, and the 
builders were Messrs. G-ath & Williams, and Mr. Parish. The 
durable red stone of which it is constructed was taken from an 
adjoining quarry, and there are Bath stone dressings. The east 
and west windows are filled with rich stained glass, foliated ; 
and handsome stained glass windows have since been given by 
Miss Dorothea Carew, for the north and south side of the chancel, 
that on the south side being in memory of her sister, Miss 
Charlotte Carew. The gas standards were given by Mrs Patch, 
in memory of her husband, formerly Town Clerk of Tiverton. 
Previous to the completion of the building there was a temporary 
chapel in Melbourne-street, where the congregation was formed. 
The church contains a thousand sittings, one-third of which are 

The Church was consecrated on Ascension Day (May 1st), 
1856, by the Eight Rev. Henry Philpotts, Lord Bishop of 
Exeter. The Rev A. Bligh Hill was the officiating minister, 
and the sermon was preached by the Rev. Robert Haker Carew, 
rector of Bickleigh, and one of the Bishop's chaplains, his text 
being from Psalm v. 7. The Rev. John Dickinson relates the 
following reminiscence of the service : " An incident of a some- 


what unusual character causes me to recollect more vividly the 
sacred service than I otherwise might have done : Ascension Day 
being one of the special days which are appointed by our Church 
for the Athanasian Creed to be used, Mr. Hill, doubtless unin- 
tentionally, forgot it, and commenced reading the Apostles' 
Creed, upon which the Bishop, in a stentorian voice, exclaimed 
' Whosoever.' The clergyman, discovering the mistake which he 
had made, yielded to the episcopal pressure, and all went decently 
and in order." After the service, the Bishop and clergy, church- 
wardens, and many invited guests were entertained at luncheon 
by Mr. John Heabhcoat, M.P., at Bolham-house. 

The cost of the building was defrayed by Mr. Ambrose Brewin, 
of Hensleigh (for many years a member of the firm of Heathcoat & 
Co.), aided by H grant of three thousand pounds from Mary Peard's 
trustees. Mr. Brewin also built a residence for the incumbent, 
and during his life-time paid the stipend of the latter a practice 
which was afterwards kept up by his widow. St. Paul's-street 
was built at the same time as the church ; and on the death of 
Mrs. Brewin in 1877 certain houses in that street, part of 
Church-square, and other property were handed over to Queen 
Anne's Bounty Trustees as an endowment of the benefice. Con- 
sequently St. Paul's is about the best living in Tiverton, because 
the rents of these houses are constantly going up, while the other 
livings decrease in value owing to their dependence on tithes. A 
monument to the memory of Mr. Brewin is to be found in the 

The district assigned to St. Paul's was practically Westexe, 
extending from the turnpike on the North Devon Road to 
Bickleigh turnpike, and including a population computed at 3,500 
souls. The parsonage, it may be added, was outside the district, 
as at first defined. Until 1854 the only place of worship in 
Westexe had been St. John's Roman Catholic Chapel, and this, 
it appears, was the chief reason for the erection of St. Paul's 
Church. During the next decade, sectarian feeling ran very high 
in the town, and whole columns of the Tiverton Gazette were filled 
with controversial letters, emanating from the Rev. H. Scott- 
Moncrieff, the Incumbent of St. Paul's, on the one hand, and 
from the Rev. Joseph Dunn, of St. John's, on the other. 

The first churchwarden was Mr. Stephen Fisher, who held 
office for many years. He practically managed all affairs relating 
to the construction of the church for Mr. Brewin, and acted 
as treasurer to the Committee. His colleague as churchwarden was 
Mr. T. Aldred. During her life-time Mrs. Brewin had the right 
of presentation, and on her death it passed to four trustees : 
the late Lord Harrowby, Lord Shaftesbury, Mr. Villiers (Rector 
of St. George's, Bloomsbury), and the present Lord Harrowby. 
Only the last mentioned now survives, and his co-trustee is hii 
brother, the Hon. Henry Dudley Ryder. 



By the Act o Parliament of 1884, which divided the parish of 
Tiverton into six independent portions, a large stretch of country, 
extending, in fact, as far as Bickleigh, was added to the 
district of St. Paul's, Westexe, in consideration of which the 
incumbent receives 70 per annum out of the sum which was 
formerly paid to the Curate of Prior's Portion. The Rev. A. 
Bligh Hill was the first who held this living. He was appointed by 
Mr. Brewin, and died in 1864. He was succeeded by Rev. W. Scott- 
Moncrieff, who resigned in 1870, in which year the Rev. E. Baker 
was presented to the living by Mrs. Brewin. Mr. Baker was 
ordained in 1863 and licensed to a curacy with the Rev. H. A. 
Gilbert, Rector of Clare Portion, so that he has passed all his 
ministerial career at Tiverton. 

Mr. Brewin, in connexion with the Church, built Sunday 
School premises and a room for meetings. The adjoining house, 
now occupied by Colonel Oldham, was intended for a curate, The 
schools will accommodate more than 300 children, and there are 
excellent rooms for adult-classes. The rent, 25, is paid to 
Queen Anne's Bounty, from which part of the vicar's income is 
derived. The tower contains a peal of five bells, but they are 
not hung for ringing. The heaviest weighs 17 cwt. 2 qrs. 20 Ibs., 
and the others 7 cwt., 5 cwt., and 4 cwt. respectively. They 
were placed in the tower in 1 864, and cost 264 14s. 4d. 

A curious incident happened at Tiverton during the Crimean 
War. On May 4th, 1854, at a rent audit held at Webb's Half 
Moon Inn, two farmers had the temerity to drink the health of 
the Emperor of Russia. The feelings which this conduct excited 
in the breast of the average Briton may be gathered from the 
following excerpt from the Globe of Thursday, May 18th, 1854. 

Amongst all the Protean phases of the Russian Imperial character there 
was one we were not prepared for. We were not prepared to see the 
Emperor Nicholas welcomed in the lately vacant and disputed role of 
the Farmer's Friend. We find his health, however, toasted in that 
capacity at an agricultural dinner at Tiverton " The Health of the 
Emperor of Russia and may the war last for seven years /" 

Now we call this good unmistakable Protectionism, with its appropriate 
sympathies of antipathy. The friends of our friends are our friends ; 
and by parity of reason, the enemies of our enemies are our friends. 

Czar Nicholas and Farmers D and H (Castor and Pollux of a 

future twin clodpole constellation) are equally at war with cheap corn, 
and with extended commerce. For this quarter-of-a-century the Czar has 

been silently promoting the most ardent aspirations of Messrs. D 

and H by taking good care that a protective quarantine, and a 

protective sand-bank should check the excessive exuberance of agricul- 
tural exports at the mouths of the Danube. To make Messrs. D 

and H quite happy, nothing more was required than Sulina being 

safely silted up to clap an embargo on Odessa. The excellent Czar 
has done tkat, too, for the Tiverton farmers, and his sagacious Osten 

Sacken farther played into D and H ...'s hands by firing on aflag 

of truce, and thereby providing an effective additional security against 
exportation of the obnoxious produce, by attracting a handsome 
bombardment to the Government stores containing it. 


It would be worth a trip to Tiverton to have actual autopsy of D 

and H We figure them to ourselves a brace of agricultural 

Nestors, with buckskins, hunting caps, yeomanry helmets, and all such 
sporting and martial appurtenances " well-saved " from the first years 
of the present century. We imagine the Irish Union their first bugbear 
of intrusive pigs and butter. Then the Peace of Amiens might give 
them a passing qualm, lest the First Consul should open shop too near 
as an egg merchant and poulterer, and take to flow-- mil ling, instead of 

the other milling line. D. ....... .and H may be supposed to have 

been soon re-assured by the camp at Boulogne, and even now somewhat 
wistfully to contemplate the projected camp in the same neighbour- 
hood. Then came the Whig tentatives at negotiation in 1806, depreciated 

doubtless by D and H and their abortive issue hailed by 

them with similar acclamations to those which, we are told, burst forth 
on the same occasion in certain commercial quarters. In the piping 

times of peace History seems to lose sight of D and H and 

we don't hear of their having entered audible protest against Lord 

Palmerston's prophecy respecting the reflux of the Exe. But D 

and H... bided their time. There was that in the cards, maugre 

Peel and Palmerston, which neither Newdigate, nor biographised 
Bentinck nor biographical Disraeli, saw looming in the future. But 

D and H we cannot but believe it, did see it. Can we 

suppose that the noble rage, the genial current of their souls, which 
now bursts forth, had no previous existence ? But the hour was not 
come, nor the Man. These great silent farmers, as Mr. Carlyle might 
call them, remained uncomprehended amidst contemporary simulacra 
and shams of Philanthrophy, Peace, Free Trade, and what not. There 
needed the great Soul of Nicholas to warm out, as in sympathetic 
characters, the great souls of D and H 

Of all these great souls, however, the world seems unworthy. The 
imperial " colossal man," as he has been termed by a female pen, has 
indeed his votaries her Majesty of Greece worships him, and her Majesty 
of Prussia exchanges sentimental missives with her of Russia about the 
double eagles of both countries having seen the light in the same cradle, 
having been brought up in the same nest, and taking their flight 
together. [Let the double eagles (malice might suggest) beware lest 
their duplicity gets them both nailed up on the same barn door.] 
Meanwhile Tiverton appears alien to the sympathies of Berlin and 

Athens. D and H are alone in their glory. "As might have 

been expected," writes the sordid reporter "the toast was received 
with indignation ; and its proposer has since been taunted by all with 
whom he came in contact. Indeed, it was questionable whether he 
would not have been mobbed by the women who assembled on the 
following market-day." 

During the third week in June, 1855, an agricultural show was 
held at Tiverton, under the auspices of the Bath and West of 
England Society. As the Society was only in its early stages, the 
show was by no means so large or important as later exhibitions 
have been. A great deal of enthusiasm, however, was manifested 
and it was estimated (doubtless an exaggeration) that 80,000 
people visited. the town in connection with the affair. The show- 
yard was situated in what are usually called the Loughborough 
Fields, near Prescott, but the events were not confined to an 
exhibition of live stock. Several local attractions were pro vided, 
prominent among them being a display at the Athenaeum the 


Tiverton and West of England Exhibition. This was under the 
patronage of several gentlemen of the county and immediate 
neighbourhood, including the members for the borough, the late 
Lord Palmerston and Mr. Heathcoat. The exhibits were chiefly 
oil paintings, antiquities, and scientific instruments, and judging 
from the catalogues issued the exhibition must have been a very 
fine one and appears to have been so regarded by the inhabitants 
generally. Again, a grand bazaar was held on '' Shillands" and 
between 600 and 700 was realised towards the re-seating of 
St. Peter's Church. 

" A preaching friar settles himself in every village, and builds 
a pulpit, which he calls Newspaper." So wrote Thomas Carlyle ; 
and the dictum became true in the town of Tiverton in 1 858. 
On April 27th of that year appeared the first number of the 
Tiverton Gazette and East Devon Herald, " printed and published 
every Tuesday morning, by Robert Were, of Paul-street, 
Tiverton." It was a small four-page sheet, local news and 
advertisements being restricted to the first and last pages, and 
the rest of the paper being filled with general intelligence, com- 
piled and stereotyped in London. In the opening number the 
Editor remarked that " the town itself, from the extent of its 
population, and the amount of its trade, would alone justify the 
attempt to establish some local organ of communication ; and, in 
addition to this, the extensive district around evidently requires a 
medium by which its claims may be advocated and its local 
interests upheld." Despite the difficulties incidental to the 
early stages of a public journal, the new enterprise held its own, 
and in October, 1861, the first of several successive enlargements 
took place. As an investment of capital, however, it was 
not very remunerative ; and in October, 1863, it passed from the 
possession of the original owner to that of Mr. George Rippon, 
who, in an introductory " leader " referred to himself as "coming 
with clean hands into the community, a stranger to all alike, 
unbiassed by party and uninfluenced by partialities or prejudices." 
Mr. Rippon retained the position of proprietor and editor for 
rather less than four years ; and in July. 1867, the property was 
transferred to new owners Messrs. Tucker & Bird. Mr. 
Rippon, I may add. removed to Oxford, where he became 
associated with a newspaper which has since had a most prosperous 
career the Oxford Times. In October, 1877, Messrs. Tucker & 
Bird left Tiverton, and Messrs. Gregory & Son became the 
proprietors of the Tiverton Gazette, the editorial functions being 
entrusted to Mr. Alfred Gregory, formerly of the Gloucester 
Journal. The policy of the Gazette was enunciated by the new 
Editor in the following terms : 

" Believing that no political party has a monopoly of genius or virtue 
we intend to maintain that position of independence which has marked 
the Gazette in the past ; and from this vantage-point we shall do our 


best to aid all who are fighting the battle of intelligence against 
ignorance, moderation against intemperance, virtue against vice, and 
right against wrong." 

To this policy the Gazette has faithfully adhered ; and its steadily 
increasing circulation is the best tribute to its success. It is now 
a large-sized eight-page paper, with a mid-weekly edition called 
the Western Observer, and affiliated issues for other towns. 

On Wednesday, the 23rd of December, 1859, in pursuance of 
a numerously signed requisition to the Mayor, a meeting was 
held at the Guildhall for the purpose of establishing a rifle corps 
in the town. The volunteer movement, as is well-known, was 
occasioned by the fear of French invasion, the tone of the French 
Press at this period being full of menace, and several incidents 
having occurred notably the Don Pacifico affair in which the 
relations betwee the two countries had been considerably 
strained. The first resolution, proposed by Mr. Arnory, was to 
the following effect : ' ; That for providing more effectual means 
of national defence, and with the view of aiding therein, it is, in 
the opinion of this meeting, desirable to form a volunteer rifle 
corps for the town and neighbourhood of Tiverton." The second 
resolution was moved by Admiral Tucker and ran thus : " That 
in order to aid and encourage the formation of such a rifle corps, 
subscriptions be entered into for the purpose of assisting in 
equipping the men and for general expenses, and that the banks 
in the town be requested to receive such subscriptions." Both 
resolutions were carried unanimously, and a committee was 
appointed for giving effect to them. Before the meeting broke 
up subscriptions were announced to the amount of about 100, 
and between twenty and thirty inhabitants gave in their names as 
volunteers, who would provide their own uniform. Shortly 
after Mr. Aniory forwarded to the secretary the names of 
twenty men whom he intended equipping at his own cost. 
The first " drill-hall" seems to have been Blundyll's School. 
The original strength of the corps was about 60 or 70 (it 
now exceeds 120). The uniforms of some twenty or thirty of the 
men were supplied by public subscription, while the rest equipped 
themselves. The officers appointed Were: Captain, Mr. J. H. 
Amory ; Lieutenant, Mr. F. Dunsford ; Ensign, Mr. George 
Mackenzie. Captain Amory was succeeded in the command of 
the Company "by Captain C. M, Hole, and since his retirement 
other captains have been Messrs. J. A. Travels, W. C. L. Unwin, 
E. F. C. Clarke, and Arthur Fisher, who is at present in com- 
mand, with 1st Lieutenant Braddon, and 2nd Lieutenant 
Hankilor. There were formerly two cadet corps, one at Blundell's 
School, the other belonging to the town. Each of the cadet 
corps had a fife and drum band, while the regular company was 
headed by a brass band The instruments of the latter were 
purchased by subscriptions. The Company formed a portion of 


the 1st Admistrative Battalion of the 14th Devon Rifle Volun- 
teers ; but some years later became the E Company, 3rd V.B. 
Devonshire Regiment. 

About the year 1620 an unknown donor had given the proceeds 
of Custom Wood, near Cove, to the poor of Tiverton. The wood, 
however, had been of very little use to the real poor, as only 
those persons who lived in the immediate neighbourhood, and 
who were provided with a horse and cart, availed themselves of 
the benefit. On the 4th of January, 1832, the first of a series 
of attempts was made to convert this nominal benefaction into a 
tangible form of assistance. A committee was appointed to 
confer with Mr. Daniel, at Stoodleigh, who had vested interests 
in the property, but, although all parties evinced the greatest 
anxiety to arrive at an equitable settlement, it was felt that a 
permanent and satisfactory arrangement could only be attained 
by legislation In November, 1835, another committee was 
appointed and directed to communicate with the Charity 
Commissioners, but nothing was done towards solving the 

By 16 and 17 Victoria, cap. 137, sec. 24, (an Act for the 
better Administration of Charitable Trusts), it was enacted 
" that, upon application to the said Board by the Trustees or 
Persons acting in the Administration of any Charity, representing 
to the said Board, that, under the special circumstances of any 
Land belonging to the Charity, a Sale or Exchange 
of such Land can be effected on such terms as to increase 
the income of the Charity, such Board may, if they think fit. 
inquire into such circumstances, and, if after inquiry, they are 
satisfied that the proposed Sale or Exchange will be advantageous 
to the Charity, may authorize the Sale or Exchange, and give such 

*A memorial drawn up apparently in 1835, and addressed to the 
Honourable Commissioners of the Poor Laws, commences as follows : 

" We the undersigned being deputed by the Inhabitants of Tiverton 
in Vestry assembled Beg leave to Inform your Honourable Board, that 
in this parish and about three miles from the Town, Is a large piece of 
Coppice Called Bickley or Custom Wood Supposed to Contain from 100 
to 150 Acres, where the Inhabitants of Tiverton have from time 
immemorial been in the Habit of Cutting Fire Wood, etc., for their own 
Use. . . . By Whom it was Given is uncertain, But by the Earliest 
Account in History, It belonged to the tiarl of Devon, Then also Lord of 
the Manor of Tiverton, And about the year 1520, appears to be given by 
Isabella, then Countess of Devon and Lady of the Manor of Tiverton, to 
the poor Inhabitants of Her Manor. . . . About 1612, After the 
Great Fire in Tiverton the poor Inhabitants took Great Quantities of 
Wood therefrom for Building and repairing their Houses, And have 
Ever since continued to Cutt and take Fire Wood therefrom. The poor 
of this parish have also been frequently sent there by the Churchwardens 
and overseers to Cutt and take Wood for the Use of the Hospital, and 
also to sell and distribute as relief among the poor Inhabitants of the 


directions in relation thereto, and for securing the due investment 
of the money arising from any such Sale, or by way of equality of 
Exchange for the benefit of the Charity, as they may think fib." 
On this section an arrangement was ultimately based, but previ- 
ous to this there were several meetings, both of an orderly and 
disorderly sort, in which the question was agitated. The first 
was held on 14th of September, 1860, at the Gruildhall. The 
place was crowded to excess, the great majority of those present 
belonging to the working classes. Mr. Smale moved the follow- 
ing resolution : " it having come to the knowledge of the 
inhabitants of the parish that some encroachments have been 
made on the poor's land, commonly known as Bickleigh or 
Custom Wood, this meeting is of opinion that some decisive steps 
should be taken to frustrate the same ; also that the afternoon of 
Saturday next be appointed for the' purpose of giving the 
inhabitants an opportunity of paying a visit to the aforesaid 
property, and putting a stop to such encroachments, and to pro- 
claim their right to the land now and for ever." The resolution 
having been seconded, a letter was handed in from Mr. T. D. 
Daniel, in which he disclaimed any hostility to the objects of the 
meeting and stated that he understood the right of cutting in 
Custom Wood belonged to the poor of Tiverton, and the soil 
below to the Lord of the Manor that the Fairby Estate was 
purchased under these conditions. He went on to say that the 
patches of cultivated ground in Custom Wood were not of recent 
date and that personally he derived no benefit from them. After 
some more speeches, in the course of which many persons became 
exceedingly uproarious, Mr. McNeil proposed " that a committee 
of fifteen be appointed from the present meeting to inspect the 
encroachments and report thereon." Mr. Marshall having 
seconded, both the resolution and amendment were put to the 
meeting, and the former was carried by a large majority. A 
second resolution was moved by Mr. Edwin Dunsford, viz. " That 
this meeting, being convinced of the justice of their claim, call 
upon the present Mayor and Town Councillors to make a record 
of these proceedings in the borough books, and also to take steps 
for the annual perambulation of the boundaries of the poor's 
property, commonly known as Bickleigh or Custom Wood, iu 
order to secure its future preservation for the general benefit and 
welfare of these individuals for whom it is intended by the 
donor's will." This was seconded by Mr. John Frost and carried 

In accordance with the first resolution, a public meet- 
ing of the inhabitants took place on the following Saturday 
in the " Works." There was a large attendance. Previous to 
their departure Mr. Smale harangued the assembly on the subject 
of charities in general, and pointed out the necessity of the poor 
uniting together to protect their own interests. The party then 


started en route for Custom Wood . On their arrival at Bolham 
a halt was made and a deputation awaited on Mr. Were a 
delinquent. Thus challenged, Mr. Were made a full confession 
of all that he had done in the wood, and said that he was quite 
willing to compensate the proper authorities for the stones he 
had taken from it. The march was then resumed. On gaining 
the wood the first object which met their eye was an old woman 
removing a bucket of potatoes. These she attempted to conceal, 
but the optics of the juveniles were too quick for her, and a 
general scramble ensued. They then proceeded to the spot 
occupied by Isaac Quick, where the proclamation was read. Hence 
they made their way to a tree which had been planted in the 
wood for some unlawful purpose, and now, amidst tremendous 
cheers, was felled by Mr. T. Brice, sawyer. The party 
then visited a plot, of more than an acre in extent, which had 
been filched from the wood and was then in the occupation of 
a man named Eoberts. From this spot as also -from an adjoin- 
ing one, the rent of which is said to have been " a pair of boots a 
year," they removed all obstructions and they afterwards enjoyed 
themselves round a big bonfire. Having in this way carried out 
the duties imposed on them, they returned to Tiverton where 
they were received with cheers by the poor inhabitants. A 
" Working Men's Protection Society " was now formed for the 
purpose of restoring to the poor whatever might be recoverable 
and preventing abuses in the future. In November the Secretary 
communicated with the Charity Commissioners, who replied 
asking for particulars. Mr. Smale complied, but fears were enter- 
tained that the want of documentary evidence would be fatal to 
the success of the application, nor was it believed that an 
exchange of any value could be effected through any other 
instrumentality. The difficulty, however, appears to have been 
surmounted. In the spring of 1861, trustees were appointed, 
Mr. Daniel agreed to purchase Custom Wood, and the interest of 
the money thus realised is distributed in the shape of coal tickets. 
This happy solution was greatly assisted by an enquiry held in 
February by Mr. W. Gr. Boase on behalf of the Charity Com- 
missioners, when the subject of the Tiverton charities as a whole 
and of Bickleigh or Custom Wood in particular, was fully 

The tailors' and shoemakers' " Nutting Days " used to be kept 
by them in " Backswood " - a plantation extending from 
Collipriest, the residence for two generations of the Carew's, to 
Bickleigh where large quantities of nuts may be gathered. In 
the recesses of the wood, far from the haunts of men, stands a 
humble cottage, formerly tenanted by an honest wood-cutter 
named Williams. Disciples of Izaak Walton used frequently to 
wend their way through the wood and after filling their baskets 
with trout, obtain rest and refreshment at old Williams' cottage. 


Sometimes a visit to Williams' with rod and line was turned into 
a bacchanalian revel. One such incident is still remembered. It 
was on the evening of Quarter Sessions at Tiverton, when George 
Turner, the celebrated Exeter Attorney, several other lawyers, 
and two or three of their friends or clients agreed to have a 
" spree " at old Williams'. Carrying with them an ample supply 
of spirit, &c., they made a night of ,it. Five or six of those who 
were then present have been dead for many years, and it is need- 
less to mention their names, but with two exceptions the party 
were all lawyers. 

A curious incident took place about this period in con- 
nexion with the Exe, and excited a good deal of interest. A 
number of tradesmen , assembled as their custom was in the 
smoking-room of the "Three Tuns," were discussing the subject 
of the Eiver Exe and its depth at different places, when two of 
the party offered for a wager to go in a boat from Tiverton 
Bridge to Bickleigh Bridge without landing, or even leaving the 
boat in those parts of the river where the water was too shallow 
to float it. Many were the bets made on the event, and the 
interest felt in the result induced a number of the sporting 
fraternity to betake themselves in the early morning to Bickleigh, 
where mine host, Roger Upton, of the JS T ew Inn, had prepared a 
substantial breakfasc. Meanwhile the adventurous voyagers 
pursued their way on the river, ever and anon encountering a 
" stickle,' i.e., a shallow part where the rocky bed had scarcely a 
foot of water. With infinite toil they propelled their craft 
by pressing against the rock, making up for lost time 
when they again reached deeper water. As the time of their 
anticipated arrival drew near, an excited crowd took up their 
station on Bickleigh Bridge, eagerly gazing up the river, and 
betting was more brisk than ever. At length, a little before nine 
o'clock, a tremendous shout arose as the oarsmen, Mr. Bob Pring 
and his companion, were discovered urging their craft gallantly 
towards the landing-place, opposite the "NewJnn," in time to 
win the bet and a few minutes to spare. After any amount of 
handshaking and cheering the whole party sat down in mine 
Host's great parlour, to partake of a substantial breakfast. The 
boat wa? afterwards taken to Tiverton in a waggon, and thus 
ended one of the strangest voyages ever undertaken by any 
denizen of old Twyford. 

A strange incident befel Mr. James Eossiter, the son of a 
miller, who long ago carried on the mills now in the occupation 
of Mrs. Wood, near the Factory. Mr. Eossiter was riding a young 
colt only partially broken in, when on crossing Bickleigh Bridge 
it took fright and leapt like that of Curtius of Eome, with its 
rider on its back, over the parapet into the gulf below. The rider 
escaped with a few bruises, but the horse, a very valuable one, 
broke its neck by the fall. 


On February 26th, 1861, died John Cross, historical painter. 
The following biography of this eminent artist (by Gustave 
Demoulin) is translated from Le Glaneur de Saint Quentin: 

" John Cross, born, 1 believe, in 1819, at Tiverton, in Devonshire, 
came while yet a child to St. Quentin. After having attended 
the preparatory classes in Mr. Caplain's school, he entered the 
work-room of the English factory, of which his father was 
foreman. It was at the machine (?) that his taste for the fine 
arts was revealed ; the air of the workroom, however, began to 
injure his health. He was admitted, in spite of his being a 
foreigner, into the public school of drawing, founded by Delatour. 
Those who attended the school at that time still remember how 
this brave boy, who was called by no other name than ' the 
English boy,' quickly gained the affections of all, and so much so 
that his companions, as a mark of sympathy with his regret at 
not being admitted as a foreigner into the number of com- 
petitors, presented to him at the end of the last year but one of 
his studies, an honorary medal, which he always prized more 
highly than his highest rewards. The following year he was 
allowed to take part in the competition. The success due not 
only to his natural aptitude, but also to that perseverance of which 
he had given so many proofs, decided his destiny. He set out for 
Paris, entered at Mr. Picot's where, as in the school of St. 
Quentin, he numbered as many friends as companions ; he was 
even appointed to the office of mossier, that is, he became 
treasurer and manager of the whole studio. His classical studies 
completed, Cross began his public career. 

"An historical picture was wanted for the walls of Westminster 
Hall. This was open to com petition. Cross resolved to compete. 
He was, however, badly furnished for such a work. He had no 
studio ; he lived in a narrow garret in the street of the Three 
Brothers, where he could hardly find room for his easel on which 
he had already tried his first compositions, ' A Holy Family ' 
and ' The Departure of Coriolanus.' Was it on this account he 
made so meagre a sketch that the smallness of the figures could 
show neither the high character nor the fulness of his com- 
position, instead of making a large life-like sketch which suited 
his manner and his talent ; or rather might it not be because he 
was incorrectly informed of the programme ? Whatever may be 
the cause, he continued his work. His worthy professor, who 
had a kindly affection for him, placed a second studio at his 
disposal for the execution of his cartoon. He had chosen as his 
subject the Assassination of Thomas a Becket, treated so many 
times before and since, and those of our readers who saw the 
sketch and the cartoon exhibited in the great hall of Terraques 
will remember what promise that first trial gave. The conception 
was very happy ; the composition large. The painter, better 
inspired than most of his predecessors, had rendered the solemn 


moment which precedes the murder ; the spectacle is thrilling 
without being horrible death is imminent -it is certain but 
the martyr is still at the altar, standing in a calm and noble 
attitude, surrounded by his murderers, all ready to strike. One 
of them has already laid hold of his garments. The effect was 
grand. The contrast, which may be considered rather affected, 
between the calm majesty of the Archbishop of Canterbury and 
the wild aspect of the courtiers of Henry II., gave none the less 
that relief of truth to the composition which art cannot abandon 
in works of grand style. Cross, however, was destined not to 
succeed. Two years after, a second competition was open in 
London for the same purpose. This time Cross was more 
resolved and better prepared. He conceived his E-ichard Coeur 
de Lion at the siege of Chalus, forgiving the soldier who had 
inflicted on him the mortal wound. He meditated seriously, 
worked warily, made and re-made his sketch, consulted conscien- 
tious and sincere artists, listened to every advice and chose that 
which was best. At last, having made up his mind, he hired a 
studio at Montmartre, and set to work on a twelve-feet canvas. 
It was the first tableau peint that he had ever done. He 
proceeded like an old and practised hand ; he did not hurry 
himself, he had two years before him ; he produced and perfected 
his work ; the result was beyond his hopes and the expectation of 
his professor and companion. He had, however, to pay the 
penalty of this excessive labour, and expiate beforehand the 
triumph which was in store for him. The painting was just 
finished when he fell very ill and typhus fiver threatened his life ; 
his fellow artists watched by him day and night ; his father and 
his sister hastened from St. Quentin, and by dint of care he was 
saved in time to take his painting to England himself, where one 
of those immense successes which the first trial so seldom meets 
with, awaited him. 

"The Exhibition opens in 1847. There is a great stir and 
excitement around this painting. A concert of praises is elicited 
from the various groups of spectators. The jury are of the same 
opinion as the public. The ' Eichard at the Siege of Chalus ' is 
crowned, and is purchased by the Government to be placed in the 
hall of the palace of Westminster, where the Commission of Fine 
Arts, under the presidency of Prince Albert, hold their sittings. 
The name of John Cross is rapidly spread through London ; 
artists small and great seek him out, fete him, and christen 
him with the almost too grand and significant name of THE XEW 
MAN. What is our good friend Cross doing all this time ? You 
imagine, no doubt, that taking advantage of his good fortune (the 
sale of his picture had brought him in nearly 25,000 francs), he 
has gone to establish himself in a comfortable studio, such as all 
London artists have. This was certainly the course naturally 
pointed out ; it was, so to speak, a necessity imposed by the 


custom, for there, if an artist means to succeed, he must make 
an appearance and display to strengthen even a success ; he must 
have an extensive studio, or rather a hall with ceiling enriched 
with trophies, shelves and tiers of shelves of curiosities, marbles, 
plasters, frames, sketches in a word, all the knick-knacks of 
amateur artists. An English artist who esteems himself and 
respects the public must have a professional cut, a long loose coat, 
a studying cap, and embroidered slippers. Of course, it is very 
necessary that he should paint with talent, but in the meantime 
he must paint in ruffles. 

"Alas ! instead of acceding to the customs and habits of the 
public, on whom his future depended, my simple-minded and 
careless companion had fixed his domicile with a small tradesman 
of the name of Smith, who kept a shop in the city. It was there 
that he received the celebrities who enquired after the ' new 
man ' smoking his big pipe before a little fire, in the dark back 
room of his merry companion Smith. 

" They thought he was mad. But what was more natural for 
Cross ! His ambition had never assumed the common form ; he 
wished to acquire talent and glory, but he thought that his 
garret in the street of the ' Three Brothers' and his studio at 
Monttnartre could lodge talent and glory as well as the salons of 
his London fellow-artists. 

" He was blamed for not taking the tide of fortune at its ebb, 
and immediately preparing a second triumph. But what will 
men have ? He had absolute need of rest. He took advantage 
of fortune's having treated him like a spoilt child to let his mind 
and body enjoy repose. He lived simply and naturally, without 
calculation, till some fresh order, till he had well ruminated over 
his work as he had ruminated over his hopes. It was his 
natural disposition and habit. 

" Perhaps there was one way still left of saving himself from the 
position in which his too 'shocking ' simplicity placed him. His 
manner of life had impressed many of his compatriots with the 
idea that he was a great original a thing which many of them 
would, in their case, have worked well to their advantage. But 
Cross was not the man to take advantage of such a circumstance ; 
he would no more have recourse to the quackery of eccentricity 
than he had to the quackery of display. 

"Nevertheless, the success of 'Eichard Coeur deLion' con- 
tinued ; an intelligent public still found in it qualities of colour 
and effect suitable to the English style, united with the -style and 
character borrowed from the French school. The Commission of 
Fine Arts in London popularised this painting by having it 
engraved at their own expense. 

' Before he set himself again seriously to work, he made a 
reduced copy of his ' Richard at the Siege of Chalus ' for Mr. 
Heathcoat, the proprietor of the English manufactory at St. 


Quentin, in which his father was foreman, and in which he had 
begun his apprenticeship in his childhood. The kind assistance of 
Mr. Heathcoat did not stop there. He ordered of him a 
companion piece to the above, an original painting representing 
' Lucy Preston begging forgiveness of Queen Mary for her 
father.' To judge from the photograph which alone we know, 
the subject is well interpreted, perhaps after a simple and 
theatrical manner, bub as amends there is found even there 
emotion and expression. The talent of Cross, who was familiar 
with the roughnesses of life, had grown supple and soft, tender 
and delicate, before he could have painted that pathetic scene in 
which there are scarcely any figures but young women. 

" The first composition that Cross finished, after Eichard, is 
known at St. Quentin ; it was the painting of 'Edward's Children,' 
exhibited two years ago at Fervagues : it represents John Tyrrell 
ordering the bodies of Edward and Eichard to be buried at the 
Tower staircase. This painting had not an undisputed success in 
London. It was, we are bold to confess, inferior to the first ; there 
was not that high character in it that serious and well-reflected 
character which was marked in Eichard and even in Thomas-a- 
Becket. The thought was too apparent ; the intention was too 
marked ; the contrasts too glaring. But with this critical reserve, 
we may say that it was painting, real painting, which left far 
behind that false and illegitimate art which consists in dashing 
historic water-paintings on large canvas. 

" From the day that the painting of ' Edward's Children ' was 
exhibited, a reaction set in against the new painter, strengthened 
by his rivals who envied and hated him. In fact, there was an 
organized coalition against him, which personally gave him much 
pain. The shocks of such antagonism he felt on every side, but 
especially with reference to an important order given by a rich 
private gentleman for two paintings, which we know only by 
hearsay, and which, according to the opinion of competent judges, 
shewed great qualities : the first represented William of 
Normandy making Harold swear on some relics that he would 
renounce all pretension to the English throne, the second 
represented Edward the Confessor pointing out Harold as his 

" Cross then entered upon a period of bitterness, grief, and dis- 
couragement, such as he had not till then known. His circum- 
stances became limited ; his resources diminished as his family in- 
creased; he had to give lessons in painting and paint likenesses for a 
living. He had not, however, lost all courage ; besides this inglorious 
toil he found time to paint his ' Assassination of the Archbishop 
of Canterbury,' of which we spoke above. He painted it in that 
serious style which suited the subject, but which reduced the 
number of purchasers ; and the painting, exhibited in London and 
in most of the large towns, was not sold. His last work was the 


' Coronation of William the Conqueror.' William is in the atti- 
tude of a king who has a crown to defend, for a riot has disturbed 
the assembly; a herald has just announced that the riot is quelled. 
Tho value of this original composition, the merit of the 
execution, inspired great hopes. Cross, therefore, expected with 
this painting the same success as with the first. He was not 
altogether deceived. This work raised his reputation for a little 
while even in the prejudiced opinions of other painters. 
Unfortunately Government alone could buy this painting, and 
the sale failed in that quarter. Cross was again thrown into 
difficulties and discouragement. One might have feared that this 
would have been his coup de grace. After the supreme sacrifice 
made to produce this remarkable work he had no other resource 
than to give lessons in a boarding-school. 

" The strongest, will must have fallen before such rude and 
repeated shocks. Still, in spite of the ravages of the disease which 
had been wearing him out for more than two years he always 
managed to rise above the discouragement into which every 
mistake and every misfortune plunged him. The man suffered, 
sometimes groaned ; the artist always recovered himself. A 
fortnight before his death he meditated a new composition. He 
wrote to one of his companions in Paris to desire him to go to 
the Mazarin Library in Paris for information which he could 
not get in London. He always had in his heart that strong faith 
which a long martyrdom, after a short triumph, had raised 
and ennobled. He might, perhaps, not always have had the 
strength of a just ambition as an artist ; he always had the 
courage of an artist and, if he died, without attaining the aim of 
his life and his studies, his will at least cannot be blamed." 

In order to assist the family of the dead artist, a meeting was 
held on March 9th, 1861, at the residence of Mr. J. H. Foley, 
E.A., when it was resolved to raise a fund by subscription for 
the purchase of one or more of his unsold works, (viz. : " The 
Burial of the Princes in the Tower," " The Death of Thomas a 
Becket," and " The Coronation of William the Conqueror") for 
presentation to some public institution. A committee was formed 
including some names of great eminence in the world of art e.g. 
Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, P.E.A. ; Samuel Cousins, E.A. ; W. J. 
Armitage, W. P. Frith, E.A.; P. Maclise, E.A. ; D. Gr. Eossetti, 
J. E. Millais, A.E.A. ; John Tenniel, Gr. F. Watts, etc., etc. ; and 
the Eev. J. B. Hughes, Head Master of Blundell's School, 
consented to receive subscriptions in Devonshire. 

The result of these efforts was the purchase of the painting 
representing " The Death of Thomas a Becked," which was 
presented by the Committee to Canterbury Cathedral on condition 
of its being hung nuar the scene of the martyrdom. Another 
picture " The Burial of the Two Princes in the Tower " was 
presented by public subscription in 1868 to the Devon and Exeter 


Albert Memorial Museum ; while <f The Clemency of Coeur de 
Lion," which won the prize of the Royal Commissioners, 
now hangs in a committee - room of the House of Lords. 
The pictures painted for Mr. Heathcoat are in the possession of 
Sir John Heathcoat Amory, Bart., at Bolham-house, Tiverton. 
Two important works " The Coronation of "William the 
Conqueror " and " The Storm Scene from the Antiquary " 
remain unsold, and hang in a private gallery built for their recep- 
tion by his widow at Rock Close, Tiverton, where his son and 
daughter still dwell. 

There are hundreds of adults in Tiverton who well recol- 
lect " Old Kibby," as he was always called ; and there are 
doubtless scores of the rising generation who have heard their 
parents mention him. John Kibby was an old soldier, who 
seems to have retired on a pension and lived in Frog-street. 
During the latter years of his life his mind at times wandered, 
and he used to harangue the public in the streets. In front of 
an old-fashioned house in Bampton-street, he would sometimes 
stop and address himself to some quaint carved figures, sculptured 
on the front. That house was then occupied by the late Col. 
Robertson, who died at his own residence in St. Andrew-street in 
1854 St. Peter's churchyard was also a usual place for Kibby to 
take his stand in and hold forth. He was the terror of the school- 
boys, who used to tease him. The boys had a story that he had 
been shot with a silver bullet, and the bullet was still in his head 
which fully accounted for his eccentricities. Yet Kibby was 
not without his good qualities, and many instances are known of 
his kindliness of heart. He was much noticed by Mr. and Mrs. 
Harston, formerly of Bampton-street. When Kibby went out for 
one of his long rambles, sometimes extending over a week or more, 
they would lend him a basket and knife or trowel, and on his 
return he would bring back wild flowers, and splendid specimens 
of cup-moss and lichen from the woods. In 1867, turning 
over his late father's papers, the Rev. Edward Harston, Vicar of 
Sherborne, in Dorsetshire, came upon a manuscript written by 
Kibby. The fineness and beauty of the writing are most remark- 
able ; and Kibby must have had more care paid to his education 
than was generally suspected. This was the more remarkable, as 
he lived in an age when education amongst his class was not so 
common as it is now. There is an interesting account of his own 
life ; and it may be remarked, in reference to the story a of the 
silver bullet, that Kibby only mentions his having been wounded 
once in battle, and that was in his leg. There are also some 
beautifully written copies of verses, and extracts from the sacred 
writers. Mr. Harston sent the MS. to Mr. Hutchinson, of 
Sidmouth, son of the late Andrew Hutchinson, M.D., F.R.S., 
who sold his house at the top of St. Peter-street to the late Mr. 
Heathcoat (who converted it into two), when he left Tiverton 
and removed to Sidmouth. The following are extracts : 



Those Warlike Recollections or the Beauties of a Soldier, is most 
humbly Dedicated To the Worshipful George Barne, Esquire, &c. 
By His most humble, and Devoted Servant, 


Sir, I became a Soldier in His Majesty's 40th Regiment of Foot 
(commanded by General Sir George Osbourn) in Taunton, on the 18th 
of July 1799. Immediately we received the Rout to March to Canter- 
bury, in order to encamp on Durham Down with the Grand Army. 
On the Ground, we was Reviewed by the Royal Dukes and Princes, &c. 
And we entertained them with a sham fight. Instantly, we received 
orders to embark at the Downs, on board the Men of War, and sailed for 
Holland. We were commanded by the Duke of York (the Soldiers 
Dearling), the Prince William of Gloucester, and General Abercrombie. 
Admiral Mitchell had the command of the Fleet. We set sail and 
landed at the Helder. We had four Actions there : two of them were 
General engagements, and indeed the fourth and the last that we 
fought there on a Sunday, was almost a general one. I don't mean to 
say anything about killing one another, but I saw some very droll 
customs, and very, very comical manners amongst the fair ones 

When we came to our destination, I was entertained with many 
beautyful sights on the passage, such as the Peak of Tenerif, the 
Sword Fish, the Grampuses, the flying fish, the Dolphins, the White 
Squalls, &c. But under, and near the equinoctial line, there was such 
dreadf ull Thunderings, Lightnings, and Rains, but it soon passed, much 
like a Soldiers troubles. Then we was obliged to put into Riogenario 
the capital of Braziels, in order to get our riggen mended, and to 
water the Fleet. I think this is the finest Harbour that I ever saw, 
but it is dreadfull hot here, and very unhealthfull. Then we sail'd for 
Monte Video in the River of Plate. We made our landing good on the 
16th of January, 1807. After we had our great Guns on Shore we 
advans'd, and drove the enemy into the city in the action, we took two 
or three Indians, and they were very conducive in getting Horses for 
our Light Dragoons, for the voyage was so far, that we could not take 
any Horses there. On the morning of the 20th the enemy sallied out, 
and gave us Battle But we gave them a sweet brushing, and drove them 
into the Town again. We threw up Batteries against them, both for 
great Guns, and Morters to throw Bombshells with. On a Sunday, 
about two o'clock in the afternoon just as the people were going to 
Mass, our shiping was drawn up so nigh to the Town as possible, We 
opened a tremendous fire on them, and the sun did shine on us most 
gloriously. We Bombarded them both Day and Night, untill the 
morning of the third of February. Then we stormed them, and 
took their city from them and made them all Prisoners of 
War. But when it was light enough, to see one thing from 
another, the Ladies came out to look for their Sweethearts, 
their Husbands, their Fathers, and their Brothers ' it was very 
. . . . Indeed, the sun was up a long time, before the enemy would 
give up the Castle. At last they let down their Flag. And one of their 
Peace officers, brought some Bread, and Wine on a white Plate, and 
presented it to their Governor, and to our Commander ; and they eat, 
drank, in each other's presence. Then all hands a hoy, to bury our 
dead, to liberate the slaves, and to march the prisoners on board. We 
had strict orders not to drink too much. But we could not help 
disobaing the orders, because the Ladies, even on thi day we took the 
city, did give to us to eat and drink. And indeed, for all the time that 
we were thare, thare was not one Murder committed, neither by them 


nor us. Indeed they are a people I dearly love. The Ladies do dress 
very neat, very so in the morning-, they are all in black silk, they have 
no caps, nor hats, nor Bonnets, but their hair is dressed in a most 
delightfull manner, they have no parasols, only a fan. And the combs 
on their lovely heads, is very rich, being embossed with precious gems. 
I saw something very singular in this city, that was a very black 
woman, wit a bright red hair 

I was in good quarters in the City of Seville. Lord Holland the 
Embassador was with us. This place was put in a good state of defence. 
Then we marched to the City of Sherry The Nobility and gentry, did 
kindly entertain us, both the officers, and men. The ladies solicited th3 
favour of seeing the English exercise. We fell in. in the afternoon to 
Parade, and the Gentry was highly pleased with us. We could not stop 
long in this dear City. Then our Rout was for Fort St. Mary. Here I 
had the pleasure to see the Holy Virgins, or what we call the Nuns. 
They walked through the streets of the city on a Sunday afternoon, the 
oldest of the sweet Ladies went before, bearing a Flag, and the youngest 
behind. But we was shocking disappointed, for when we was even very 
nigh them, we could not see their Beauty, for their Faces was covered 
with a black veil. But was our English Women to see the Manners of 

the women in general, in Spain, and Portugal, We 

then embark'd at Cadiz, and set sail for Lisbon, landed and marched for 
the City of Placentia, and at Talavera we got up with the enemy, that 
was commanded by General Massena, on the line of march we formed 
junction with General Cuesta, that commanded the Spanish Army. On 
the 27th of July, 1809, at it we went hammer and tongs, but we had the 
honour to be their Masters. It was the pleasure, and the goodly wisdom 
of our commander in Chief, to call a counsil of war. Then we took a 
fresh rout, and came to Badajos. Here we lay in cantoonments some 
time. Sir Arthur Wellesley went home to England, leaving the com- 
mand of the army to General Sherbrook. And both Wellesley's, and 
Sherbrook's valor, met King George the Third's approbation. But 
General Cuesta the commander in chief of the Spaniards was put to 
death. Our bold commander joined us again in this city, and our dear 
old King George the Third planted a star on our commander's Breast, 
and called him Lord Wellington. Then we march'd through Portugal, 
and took up our winter quarters in a city called Guard o, and here was a 
place, and a very large place too, full of those holy virgins. Whilst we 
lay at this place, the French advans'd, and took the City of Almeida, 
V/e was obliged to set at liberty all those sweet Ladies, or else the French 
would have had them 

I was sent to London, and there I passed the Board. And General Sir 
David Dundas, said to me, " Kibby, you are wanted no more." I then 
went to Lynns Office, had my instructions, and off I started for 
Tiverton. And here I am at present. 

Sir, your most gratefull Servant 


Frog-street, Tiverton. 

N.B. This is not the Hundredth part of the recollections of what I 
experienced in the different expeditions in the last wars. 

I wish that I had not wrote in such haste, and so very briefly. But, 
should it be your good pleasure, I will write the Recollections beautifully , 
and more at large. 

Once on a time, when witches and wizards used to exercise 
their powers of evil, to the great discomfort and loss of good 
Christian folk, there lived in a lonely cottage by the road side, 
between Tiverton and Oakford, an old man who was known far 


and wide as a conjuror, or as he would have been called in earlier 
times, a " White Witch." He lived alone, as far as the society 
of his fellow creatures was concerned ; but he had, nevertheless, 
certain companions in his solitude, consisting of an owl, a raven, 
and an enormous black Tom cat, who were regarded by visitors 
and neighbours with superstitious awe. 

The old man, with his pets, had retired to their rest one moon- 
light night, when a loud knocking at the gate aroused him from 
his sleep, and he learnt that he was required to repair instantly 
to the hill near the old Church to lay the devil, who had appeared 
to the rustics in a very strange form, and was at that moment 
lying in the road making a strange noise, which they had con- 
cluded to be curses or maledictions. Though unwilling to be 
deprived of rest, the hope of reward and the dread of being 
supposed to be in league with Satan, induced him to dress himself 
and go with them. A crowd of peasants and others, armed with 
pitchforks and staves, were gazing at a respectful distance, at 
something that certainly had never been seen before in that 
neighbourhood, viz., a large turnip watch, face upwards, with 
a gold chain and a great seal at the end. Loud and sonorous was 
the watch-tick, and many were the expressions of pious horror, at 
the new and wonderful shape which they supposed the foul fiend 
for his own wicked purpose, had now assumed. 

The wise man, on being appealed to, uttered some words in 
an unknown tongue, and then after approaching within a foot 
or two of the spot, declared it to be, not the devil, but a very 
dangerous animal called a " Clickmantoad " in proof of which he 
seized a pick, and thrusting it through its tail i.e. through the 
links of the chain, held it aloft, to the horror of the clowns, who 
were about to take to their heels, but at a call from one of their 
number, held a consultation of what should be done. The result 
was, that as the mysterious creature was either the devil himself 
or one of his familiar spirits, and as the old conjuror or wizard 
was evidently in league with him, the best thing would be to 
hang the latter at once, and thus break the spell, as it were. No 
sooner said than done ; the trembling old wizard was securely 
bound, and led to a convenient spot down the hill where, next 
morning, passers-by found him hanging to a tree by the road-side. 
It was discovered afterwards that a gentleman from the far-off 
metropolis had accidentally dropped his watch in the road, and 
as such a thing had never been heard of in this benighted locality, 
the ignorant natives got hold of the notion that cost the poor 
conjuror his life. The spot where the occurence took place has 
ever since been known as " Hangman's Hill." 

When this work was first projected, it was proposed to include 
in it a whole chapter exclusively devoted to electoral matters. 
Owing, however, to the great mass of materials which have had 
to be dealt with, it has been found impossible to carry out thia 


design, and the information which had been collected for this 
present volume, with notable additions, will be given to the public 
in a future work. A brief narrative of the chief political events since 
the passing of the Eeform Bill of 1832 is all we can offer now* 
The hero of the first elections held under the new Act was a Mr 
Kennedy, a barrister by profession and an advanced politician, 
who succeeded, in a most extraordinary degree, in winning the 
confidence of the electors. His first visit to the town took place 
in 1826, when the members of the Old Corporation were still 
masters of the situation. Although he had no standing what- 
ever in the court, he sought to interfere in the election of 
representatives as the mouthpiece of the unenfranchised and only 
withdrew from the Town Hall on a threat of ejectment. In 
1832 on the passing of the Reform Bill, Mr. Kennedy returned 
to Tiverton to claim the reward of his self-denying efforts. He 
received an ovation from the grateful burgesses, and after a 
spirited contest, in which no less than six candidates went to the 
poll, was elected member for the borough, with Mr. Heathcoat 
as his colleague. One of his opponents was Mr. Benjamin Wood 
who, instead of taking his defeat patiently, demurred to Mr. 
Kennedy's qualifications. A committee of the House of Com- 
mons was appointed to consider the case, and decided that Mr. 
Wood's petition was not " vexatious " while Mr. Kennedy's 
election was. Accordingly a writ was issued for another election 
which took place in 1 833. In the meantime Mr. Kennedy had 
either acquired the necessary property qualification or hadobtained 
evidence of the validity of his claim ; and he was again returned. In 
1835, however, he came to the conclusion that his patriotism had not 
been properly appreciated, as he had not up to that time been given 
any place of profit under the Crown. On that ground he resigned 
his seat. Thereupon a requisition was sent to Broadlands desiring 
Lord Palmerston to undertake the representation of the borough. 
The noble Lord, who was just then in want of a seat, closed with 
the offer, and poor Mr. Kennedy, whose retirement had made 
the arrangement feasible, was appointed a Commissioner in the 
Bahamas. Among the candidates for Parliamentary honours in 
1832 and '35 was Colonel Chichester, of Calverleigh Court, who 
came forward in the Catholic interest. His views were Liberal, 
and as a neighbour also, he was supposed to be entitled to some 
consideration. The overwhelming influence of Mr. Heathcoat, 
however, and the eloquence of Radical Mr, Kennedy proved 
too strong for these modest pretensions ; and Colonel Chichester, 
with all his amiability and high and chivalrous character, found 
himself out in the cold. On the disappearance of the popular 
tribune in 1835, the gallant Colonel thought it possible that he 
might, in a third attempt, secure the favour of the electors, but 
on being told of the invitation to Lord Palmerston, he gracefully 
retired, went to Spain to fight the Carlists, and died a soldier's 


death. Lord Palmerston was returned unopposed. Two years 
later, "Pam," as he was called, had to do battle with Mr. 
Benjamin Bowden Dickinson, of Knightshayes (who subsequently 
assumed the name of Walrond). Mr. Dickinson stood in the 
Conservative interest, and was a strong opponent of the new 
Poor Laws. The result of the contest in 1837 was the election of 
Mr. Heathcoat and Lord Palmerston by substantial majorities. 

After this there were no more electoral conflicts till the year 
1865. A noted Chartist of the day, Mr. Julian Harney stood in 
1847, but he received no votes. There was, however, a 
remarkable scene at the hustings. The Chartist hero came 
down to Tiverton and impeached Lord Palmerston's foreign 
policy. The great statesman treated his opponent with every 
respect, and replied to his arguments seriatim. Mr. Harney was 
" run," to use a current vulgarism, by Mr. William Rowcliffe, a 
Tiverton butcher, who shared his political convictions, and who, 
I fancy, made his debut at this time. On subsequent occasions Mr. 
Rowcliffe in person discharged the functions of a "grand inquisi- 
tor " of Lord Palmerston who, on the conclusion of his addresses, 
was invariably taken in hand by Mr. Rowcliffe and subjected 
either to caustic criticism or bo a severe " heckling." Lord 
Palmerston always received these attacks in the best of tempers, 
and gave the worthy butcher as good as he brought. It is 
recorded that on one occasion Lord Palmerston said " 1 am 
always happy to meet my friend Rowcliffe at these hustings, for 
I can tell you frankly that an election in Tiverton, without my 
friend putting in an appearance, would not seem to me to be an 
election at all. But there is one thing I have to complain of, 
and that is that in the varying changes of administration of her 
Majesty's Government my friend Rowcliffe is always prepared to 
take personal exception to its composition. Indeed. I have long 
ago been forced to the conclusion that the only form of Govern- 
ment that would please my friend Rowcliffe, would be a Rowcliffe 
Ministry." To this the veteran butcher replied " Your lordship 
would join any Ministry that suited your own purposes." "Any 
but a Rowcliffe Ministry" said his lordship. Many such incidents 
will be remembered by those who were accustomed to listen 
to the speeches delivered on the hustings in the days of Lord 
Palmerston. The pluck of this Chartist tradesman in " standing 
up " to a debater of Lord Palmerston's prowess was universally 
recognized. He was bracketed with the Prime Minister in 
Punch, and on Rowcliffe's death, in 1 874, nearly all the London 
papers contained articles descriptive of his career. I hope to do 
justice to Mr. Rowcliffe elsewhere. A monument in the Tiverton 
cemetery states : " He was for many years a prominent 
member of the Liberal party in the borough of Tiverton, and, 
actuated by a sincere wish for the advancement of the masses of 
his fellow-citzens, devoted himself to the cause, now won, of free- 


dom of voting and extended political rights. ' An honest man's 
the noblest work of God.' " It may be added that the designation 
of " William Eowcliffe, butcher" has been borne in Tiverton 
by at least three generations of the family; and in accordance 
with a process of development not uncommon, the son and grand- 
son of the famous Radical tradesman have proved staunch Conser- 

In 1859, Mr. Heathcoat, who had sat continuously for the 
borough since 1832, retired from the representation on account 
of advancing years, and the Hon. George Denman succeeded to 
his place. In 1865 there was a contest, and Mr, Denman was 
ousted in favour of Mr. J. W. Walrond (son of Mr. B. B. 
Dickinson Walrond) who was elected by a majority of three. On 
the death of Lord Palmerston in 1865, Mr. Denman again pre- 
sented himself to the constituency, his Conservative opponent 
being Sir John Dalrymple Hay, This contest, which was fought 
with unusual keenness, ended in a victory for Mr. Denman, by 
232 votes as against 186. In 1868 Mr. Walrond forsook 
Tiverton, and attempted to secure a seat as member for North 
Devon. Mr. J. Heathcoat Amory (grandson of Mr. Heath- 
coat, whose daughter married Mr. Samuel Amory, of Port- 
land-place, London), now became member for the borough, 
a position which he continued to occupy until 1885, when 
Tiverton ceased to exist as an independent constituency. On 
the promotion of Mr. Denman to the judicial bench in 1872, Mr. 
Walrond returned to his old love, and had as his rival the Eight 
Hon. W. N". Massey, who proved the successful candidate. Again 
in 1874 Mr. Walrond sought the suffrages of the Tivertonians, 
but without avail, Mr. Amory heading the poll, while Mr. Massey 
came next with a majority of nineteen. Undaunted, Mr. Walrond 
came forward for the fourth and last time in 1880. He was 
then badly beaten ; Sir J. H. Heathcoat-Amory received 743 votes, 
Mr. Massey 699 ; while the brave, but unfortunate Mr. Walrond 
obtained only 590. On the decease of Mr. Massey in 1881 there 
was another fight. For a long time no Conservative politician 
could make up his mind to essay the perilous breach, but at the 
last moment Mr. E. F. Loosemore led a forlorn hope against the 
Liberal fortress. Viscount Ebrington championed the Liberal 
cause, and won by 705 as against 453 votes recorded for his 
opponent. This was the last election under the old system. 
When next we have occasion to refer to the subject, it will be 
found that the old Liberal supremacy in Parliamentary matters 
passed away when Tiverton borough lost its privilege of return- 
ing two members and became merged in a division of the county 
of Devon. 

Two baronetcies in the title-roll of the United Kingdom are 
associated in their origin with the electoral history of Tiverton. 
In 1874, by the advice of Mr. Gladston e, who was then Premier 


Mr. J. Heathcoat Amory, M.P., was made a baronet in recogni- 
tion of his public services; and two years later, during the 
regime of Lord Beaconsfield, a baronetcy was conferred upon 
Mr. J. W. Watoond, of Bradfield Court. 


The following is a record of the Tiverton borough elections 
from 1832 to 1881 :- 

Dec. 1832 Heathcoat, 376 j Kennedy, 265 ; Benjamin Wood, 55 ; 
Chichester, 40. 

(Mr. Kennedy unseated on petition.) 

May, 1833 Kennedy, 214 ; Benjamin Wood, 95. 

Jan. 1835 Heathcoat, 363 ; Kennedy, 184 ; Chichester, 134 ; Langmead,62 
(Kennedy accepted the Chiltern Hundreds.) 

June 1835 Viscount Palmerston, unopposed. 

August, 1837 Heathcoat, 323 ; Palmerston, 246 ; Dickinson, 130. 

June, 1841 Heathcoat and Palmerston, unopposed. 

1846 Palmerston , being appointed Foreign Secretary, re-elected 
without opposition. 

August, 1847 Heathcoat, 148 ; Palmerston, 127 ; Julian Harney, 0. 
July, 1852 Heathcoat and Palmerston, unopposed. 

Dec., 1852 Palmerston, being appointed Home Secretary, re-elected 

Feb., 1855 Palmerston, being appointed First Lord of the Treasury, 
re-elected unopposed. 

March, 1857 Heathcoat and Palmerston, unopposed. 
April, 1859 Palmerston and Denman, unopposed. 

June, 1859 Palmerston appointed First Lord of the Treasury, re- 
elected unopposed. 

March, 1861 Palmerston appointed Lord Warden of the Cinque Porti, 
re-elected unopposed. 

July, 1865 Palmerston, 261 ; Walrond, 220 ; Denman, 217. 
(Palmerston died in October, 1865. ) 

Feb., 1866 Denman, 232 ; Hay, 186. 

Nov., 1868 Denman and Amory, unopposed. 

(Hon. George Denman appointed a Judge.) 

Nov., 1872 Massey, 577 ; Walrond, 547. 

Feb., 1874 Amory, 677 ; Massey, 624 ; Walrond, 605. 

April, 1880 Amory, 743 ; Massey, 699 ; Walrond, 590. 

(Right Hon. W. N. Massey died October 25th, 1881.; 

Nov., 1881 Ebrington, 705 ; Loosemore, 453. 



KHE present-day chronicles of T wyf ord may fittingly commence 
\2 with the opening, in 1864, of a new Town-hall. The build- 
ing which had previously served that purpose, was not large 
enough to accommodate all the public offices under one roof, and 
in other respects also it was inadequate to the requirements of 
the Borough. Accordingly in 1862 the Town Council advertised 
for plans for a new Town Hall, to be erected partly on the site of 
the old building, partly on the approach to St. Andrew-street, 
and partly on land bought by the Corporation from Mr. 
Cannon, proprietor of the Angel -hotel. Sixty-two designs 
having been sent in, the first prize was awarded to Mr. 
Lloyd, of Bristol, the architect under whose superintendence 
the work was carried out. Many difficulties presented themselves 
owing to the nature of the ground. These, however, were 
successfully overcome by the architect, who was able not only to 
provide for the requirements of the Council, but also to produce 
a building which for originality of design and architectural skill 
may be pronounced one of the most striking edifices in the West 
of England. It only requires (as do so many other fine public 
buildings) a larger open space before it, in order to display its 
admirable proportions to full advantage. The style adopted was 
Venetiano-Italian. and the principal feature in the design is an 
octagon tower which rises to a height of nearly a hundred feet. 
The roof terminates in a square surmounted with cast-iron 
galvanized cresting, from which springs a handsome weather-vane. 
In the centre of the octagon tower is a semi-circular pediment, in 
which provision was made for an illuminated clock. On four sides 
of the octagon roof are circular louvres. The roof is covered 
with cut slates of different colours. On each side of the octagon 
tower are massive chimney stacks in freestone, with moulded caps 


and bases, and at each angle of the first and second compartments 
of the tower are detached columns of red Devonshire marble, with 
richly carved, foliated, Corinthian capitals in freestone, together 
with appropriate entablature and consoled cornice, also in 
free -stone. The main entrance to the building is at the 
base of the octagon tower facing Fore-street and opening 
into a large hall or vestibule. There are also two entrances 
in St. Andrew-street ; and towards that thoroughfare the 
building terminates in a square tower, in which is a stone 
staircase leading into the hall and communicating with the 
passages to the cells, so that prisoners can be taken to and from 
the court without interfering with the public. The principal 
fronts of the building in the direction of Fore-street, St. Andrew- 
street, and Angel-hill are faced with grey pennant ashlar, with 
freestone quoins and arches to the windows and doors. The base 
is appropriated to the Magistrates' offices, County-court offices, 
Borough Accountant's and Borough Surveyor's offices, Committee- 
room, Muniment-room, Town Clerk's office, police office and lock-up 
cells. The hall is on the second floor, where are also a mayoralty 
room, grand-jury room, ante-room and other offices. Over the 
grand-jury room at the north end of the hall is a large 
gallery, between which and the dock tiers of seats were 
erected in 1892. The hall itself is spacious and lofty. 
It is fifty feet long, thirty-two feet wide and twenty-seven 
feet high. A handsome stained-glass window just behind 
the Mayor's chair was presented by Mr. Alderman Lane 
in 1887. The walls are adorned with several portrait paint- 
ings. The most prominent are those of his Majesty George 
the Third in his robes, and Viscount Palmerston. The former is 
the work of Sir Joshua Reynolds and is supposed to have been 
presented to the town by Lord Harrowby. The portrait of Lord 
Palmerston was executed by Mr. Roden one of the two pictures 
exhibited by him in the International Exhibition of 1862. It is 
considered an excellent likeness of his lordship. Its only fault is 
that it represents him with rather too careworn an expression. 
In the central compartment of the side of the hall hangs a 
portrait of Mr. Heathcoat an admirable likeness, presented to the 
Mayor and Corporation by the inhabitants. Another portrait is 
that of Mr. Frank Hole, J.P., who filled the office of Mayor on 
many occasions : this picture was the gift of Lord Palmerston. 
In 1865 a bust of Lord Palmerston. executed by Mr. Morton 
Edwards, of London, was presented to the Hall by Mr. VV. North 
Row, the then Mayor : and in 1867 a Mayoralty Chair was sub- 
scribed for by the Mayor and Magistrates of the Borough. In 
the grand-jury room 'hangs a portrait of Mr. G. W. Cockram, 
which was presented to him by the Magistrates and Corporation 
at the close of his term of office as Mayor (1875, '76, 77) 
and given by him to the Town Hall. About the same time 

TO-DA.Y 349 

the Right Hon. W. N. Massey, M.P., gave to the town a 
presentation portrait of himself (by Charles Mercier), and it 
hangs in the hall. There is in the ante-room a curious old 
print of Tiverton Castle as it appeared in 1734, and in the 
grand-jury room is a painting of the Royal Arms dated 
1661. The other and smaller pictures consist chiefly of 
presentations which were made during the time of the old 
Corporation. The Mayoralty-room is forty-six feet long, 
twenty-eight feet wide, and sixteen feet high. Over it is a 
large octagon room, forming the upper compartment of the 
octagon, in which are the works of the clock, and also a valuable 
collection of geological specimens, antique books, &c., presented 
to the borough in 1890 by Miss Crocker, of Newton Abbot. 
In the basement are capacious cellars for stores and coals, and 
apparatus for heating. The cost of the building was about 

The Town Hall was opened on the 19th May, 1864, by the 
Hon. George Denman, M.P., accompanied by Lord Fortescue, 
who acted as deputy for Lord Palmerston. The day was observed 
as a general holiday. The church bells rang, and the band 
of the Rifle Volunteers poured forth melodious strains. The 
houses in the principal streets were decked with flags and 
evergreens, and